A cracked smartphone screen is unfortunately something that many of us have dealt with at some point or another.
While smartphones screens have generally become more robust and resilient to damage over the past few years thanks to the introduction of technology like Corning’s Gorilla Glass, we are yet to see a suitable alternative to replacing damaged screens.
This may be about to change however, as a group of scientists from the University of California, Riverside, have invented a new type of material for smartphone screens designed to self-repair when damaged, as reported by Business Insider.
Tests conducted on the newly developed material have revealed an impressive ability to self-repair when scratched or cut, and the material was able to automatically stich itself back together in just under 24 hours after being torn in half.
The self-repairing material can stretch to 50 times its original size and is manufactured from a stretchable polymer and ionic salt combination.
More importantly, the self-repairing material is capable of conducting electricity and as a result is suitable for use in smartphone screens, batteries and potentially other technologies.
It features a unique type of bond known as an ion-diploe interaction; the ions and polymer molecules within the material are attracted to each other and self-repair the material if it is scratched and damaged.
Chao Wang, a chemist leading the team behind the material, believes we will likely see self-repairing materials adopted into other areas in the coming years.
Speaking about the material, Wang said:
‘Self-healing materials may seem far away for real application, but I believe they will come out very soon with cell phones. Within three years, more self-healing products will go to market and change our everyday life.’
A self-repairing smartphone screen could really save people money on repairs and we can only begin to imagine how this technology will benefit other areas of our lives.