How many times have you had glass break on you, necessitating that you get it repaired or having it end up in the garbage, leaving you no choice but buy a new one? Too many to count I’m sure. But, what if you had self repairing glass, where all you had to do is push the broken pieces together for thirty seconds and it would be as good as new? That day is coming soon.
Yu Yanagisawa, a chemistry researcher at the University of Tokyo made the discovery by accident while he was trying to find an adhesive that works on wet surfaces. Before you start digging out that old I-Phone with the cracked screen, know this that it could be years before it is commercially available. But once it’s perfected it will become the answer to every day breakage and make repairs so simple you can do it yourself in 30 to 60 seconds.
In a lab demonstration for AFP, Yanagisawa broke a glass sample into two pieces.
He then held the cross sections of the two pieces together for about 30 seconds until the glass repaired itself, almost resembling its original form.
To demonstrate its strength, he then hung a nearly full bottle of water from the piece of glass — and it stayed intact.
The organic glass, made of a substance called polyether thioureas, is closer to acrylic than mineral glass, which is used for tableware and smartphone screens.
Other scientists have demonstrated similar properties by using rubber or gel materials but Yanagisawa was the first to demonstrate the self-healing concept with glass.
The new discovery will not allow you to fix old broken items but it will create new products where the glass will last two or three times longer than the current products. Glass becomes weaker with age and will develop small cracks. This new technology will allow those flaws to heal and will allow the glass to remain intact longer.