Cracked screens may be a thing of the past with this self-healing glass

self healing glass iphone cracked screen 123rf 31487513 ml
janfaukner / 123RF Stock Photo
If shelling out hundreds of dollars to replace the cracked screen of the smartphone you already paid hundreds of dollars for doesn’t exactly sound like your idea of fun, we may have some good news for you. A team of Japanese researchers claims to have created a new self-healing kind of glass that just might be the antidote to your butterfingers. The glass is constructed with a light polymer known as “polyether-thioureas,” and is said to be capable of fixing cracks and breaks without needing any sort of high heat. In fact, you need only to press the glass together to mend it, which means that your cracked screen may not be an expensive problem in the future.

In research results published in the magazine Science, lead researcher Takuzo Aida from the University of Tokyo noted that the glass could aid in sustainability across a number of devices. And not only would a self-healing glass be a boon to consumers, but it could also help reduce environmentally unfriendly waste at large.

“High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive,” the researchers noted. And while some self-healing materials do exist, they continued, “in most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120-degrees Celsius or more, to reorganize their cross-linked networks, is necessary for the fractured portions to repair.”

This, however, is not the case with the new glass. The new polymer is said to be able to heal itself at room temperature, unlike similarly regenerative rubbers and plastics that are currently on the market.

As reported by the Guardian, polyether-thioureas glass’ impressive capabilities were actually discovered by accident by graduate student Yu Yanagisawa, who was planning to use the polymer as a glue. But when he cut the surface of the polymer, he found that edges would actually stick to one another, and after 30 seconds of being pressed together, would come together to form a “strong sheet.” And after experimenting a bit more, Yanagisawa found that the material managed to return to its original strength after a couple hours passed.

“I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken,” he told Japan’s NHK. Needless to say, so do we.

Emerging Tech

Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fancy desk ornament

Ever wanted to know more about the star constellations? A stunning new Kickstarter campaign, taking the form of a fancy desk ornament that re-creates the night sky in a glass orb, aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Mobile

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.
Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Cars

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.
Emerging Tech

This startup will sequence your entire genome for free — but there’s a catch

Want to get your DNA sequenced but don’t want to shell out the hundred bucks or so to do so? A new startup called Nebula Genomics offers you the opportunity to have it done for free.