The researchers of the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, created a bad day for smartphone glass makers. Or at least for the repair market.
Their creation, in short, is a new type of glass that is five times stronger than conventional glass. It is made of an acrylic material which the researchers have "changed the connotations". Their activity, in fact, has provided the material with an exceptional microstructure, resistance and durability. The study was published in Science.
A shell in the true sense of the word
The inspiration for the creation of this indestructible shield came to the researchers from biomimetics: they copied a pearl. To be precise, from the substance secreted by the oyster shells inside them. In fact, the shell of the oyster secretes tiny crystals of Aragonite
The researchers inspired the creation of the glass from the pearl, the substance secreted by the pearl shells inside. The shell secretes tiny crystals of aragonite (for nerds: chemical formula CaCO3) just 15 microns long and even less thick. Much less: 0,5 microns. The crystals are arranged next to each other, forming thin layers.
War-proof cell phone glass
These superimposed layers of crystals are strongly bound together with corresponding sheets of an elastic polymer, also secreted by the shell. The resulting material is a kind of "additive" that covers the inside of the shell. An extremely strong and durable material.
The researchers copied this architecture into the glass they created. This has significantly increased the impact resistance and also the formation of cracks. There is more.In addition, they have changed the refraction level of the material so that the glass becomes completely transparent and can therefore be used as a screen for mobile phones.
Studies continue: now researchers are trying to incorporate new advanced technologies into glass that will allow it to change color, conductivity and mechanical properties on its own.