Omer Khan, Avanade

Self-heal­ing glass

HWM (Singapore) - - Contents - By James Lu

The days of shat­tered smart­phone screens could soon be over. Ja­panese re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Tokyo have ac­ci­den­tally de­vel­oped a new type of glass that can heal it­self from cracks and breaks.

The glass is made from a low weight poly­mer called “polyether-thioureas” that can heal cracks when sim­ply pressed to­gether by hand, without the need for high heat to melt the ma­te­rial.

Grad­u­ate school stu­dent Yu Yanag­i­sawa was the rst to dis­cover the heal­ing prop­er­ties of the glass, when he was pre­par­ing the ma­te­rial as glue. Yanag­i­sawa found that when he cut the poly­mer sur­face, the edges would ad­here to each other, heal­ing to form a strong sheet af­ter be­ing com­pressed for 30 se­conds at room temperature. Fur­ther ex­per­i­men­ta­tion found that the healed ma­te­rial re­gained its orig­i­nal strength af­ter a cou­ple of hours.

Yanag­i­sawa didn’t be­lieve the re­sults at rst and re­peated his ex­per­i­ments mul­ti­ple times to con rm the nd­ing. He said, “I hope the re­pairable glass be­comes a new en­vi­ron­ment-friendly ma­te­rial that avoids the need to be thrown away if bro­ken.”

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