How do you feel when one of your costly phones fall down on the floor. Certainly, you check it a thousand times if its damage. The relief when no there’s no visible harm is definitely obvious, but if you find a crack, you have to spend some serious amount of bucks to get that fixed.
But there’s a good news for you: A latest ground-breaking research from Japan finally suggests that the fear of that dreadful moment is soon going to be a thing of past: a polymer produced by mistake appears to be entirely self-healing, needing just an ambient temperature of 21 degrees Celsius and 30 seconds of mild pressure to rebind.
“High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive,” the paper reads. It acknowledges that hard healable materials have been invented but require “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.”
Though the final paper was led by the University of Tokyo’s Professor Takuzo Aida, the original discovery was made by Yu Yanagisawa – a graduate student who was working on something completely different. While trying to make polyether-thioureas function as a glue, Yanagisawa found that the when the surface was cut, the edges would stick fast to each other. Shortly realising the possible benefits of his discovery, Yanagisawa repeated the experiment several times to ensure it wasn’t an exception. “I hope the repairable glass becomes a new environment-friendly material that avoids the need to be thrown away if broken,” he told NHK.
This is not the first time self-healing screens are discovered. of course – Earlier in 2017, a patent from Motorola was unveiled which even suggested an app could be used to fix certain cracks by targeting heat to the damaged area. While the material researchers have created this time is totally different, it is good to see that people are really working on this problem.