Broken phone screen? New healing glass could fix it fast

Saul Bowman
December 21, 2017

Self-healing plastics and rubbers have previously been developed but this is the first material of its kind which can allegedly self-repair at room temperature.

The problem of broken glass, as an inconvenience, expense, and waste issue is brought sharply into focus for many who are unfortunate enough to drop their smartphone. Professor Takuzo from the University of Tokyo published a study in Science called "Mechanically robust, readily repairable polymers via tailored non-covalent cross-linking", this new glass is called "polyether-thioureas" and will be able to heal itself with only the pressure from our hands.

But the discovery was made by accident as graduate school student Yu Yanagisawa was preparing polyether-thioureas as a glue, reported The Guardian.

As well as signalling potentially cheaper repairs for consumers, it is also a more sustainable material as it won't have to be replaced as often.


As phone manufacturers race to implement the latest technologies into their handsets, it seems that self-repairing screens could eventually become the must-have mobile feature.

In a paper published last week, researchers wrote that up until now, strength and self fix have typically been mutually exclusive and self-repair always required substantial heat.

Several institutes had come forward earlier claiming that they had discovered some form of replacement for present glass screens.

We might soon say goodbye to broken phone screens, thanks to a student who accidentally invented self-healing glass. After a few hours, the glass sheet was again at its original strength with no blemishes at all. Right now, he hopes that the self-healing glass will become an environment-friendly material. Researchers at the University of California proposed the use of polymer that could stretch to 50 times its original size and heal breaks within 24 hours.

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