A new form of glass that is able to fix cracks and breaks by itself is being claimed to have been developed by Japanese researchers.
There is no need for making use of high heat so that glass is able to be melted for this newly developed glass that had been developed from “polyether-thioureas” which is a low weight polymer, and cracks in this new form of glass can be fixed by simply pressing the cracked parts together.
The development of the new form of glass would be a boon for creation of sustainable societies as the self-healable glass can potentially be put to use in the making of phone screens, claims the research which was led by Professor Takuzo Aida from the University of Tokyo and was published in Science.
The new form of glass is a first in its category and it can easily be healed at even room temperatures, the researchers said. There have already been development and use of self-healing rubber and plastics.
“High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive,” wrote the researchers. They added that development of some hard but healable materials have already been done, “in most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120°C or more, to reorganise their cross-linked networks, is necessary for the fractured portions to repair.”
The new polymer glass is “highly robust mechanically yet can readily be repaired by compression at fractured surfaces”.
While creating the material in the form of a glue, a graduate school student Yu Yanagisawa, was the one who had accidently discovered the characteristics of the polyether-thioureas glass.
The polymer was compressed for 30 seconds at 21°C which resulted in the formation of strong heat after healing for the new material after the surface of the polymer edges was broken or cut which would get glued to each other, Yanagisawa found.
After a few hours, the material which was healed, managed to get back its original strength, found more detailed experiments.
In order to be absolutely sure about the findings, Yanagisawa said that he repeated his experiments because he did not believe the results after at the beginning, he told NHK. He said: “I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken.”
However, there have been previous suggestions about making use of polymer as a screen that is healable for devices like smartphones. Polymer qualities such as it is stretchable to 50 times its original size and breaks being healed in 24 hours have been proposed earlier to be used by researchers at the University of California.
Devices have already been fitted with self-healing materials by smartphone manufacturers. A coating was put on the back of LG’s G Flex 2 which was shipped in 2015, which was able to heal minor scratches over a period of time. That coating however, was unable to totally heal heavier damage.
(Adapted from The Guardian)