A new glass capable of repairing its breaks and cracks on its own. This is the discovery that could lead to the filing of broken phone screens, costly repairs, discarded cell phones … It has just been put on the table by the University of Tokyo, which, by chance, has found one self-healing material by applying pressure with the hands on the broken pieces.

Here, precisely, lies the main novelty of this advance and its possible impact. And, although to date there had been advances in sturdy materials with self-healing properties, the truth is that in order for them to work it was necessary to apply temperatures of up to 120 degrees. This, in practice, resulted in these virtues being difficult to use beyond the laboratory.


Now however the effectiveness of this material has been proven in numerous tests and basically at room temperature, more precisely, at 21 degrees. A curious note is that the Japanese research team that developed this innovation, published in the magazine Science, obtained these results by simple accident.

In fact, as he explains NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), a graduate student belonging to a research team led by Takuzo Aida was the one who discovered the effects of the material, a polymer known as polyether thiourea which has a low molecular pressure. So, this student, Yu Yanagisawa, was handling the material in search of new glues when, while cutting its edges, he found that it was repaired to also form a solid layer. To do this, he only had to press with his hands for about thirty seconds, without any change in the temperature the room was in at the time.

What happened in the lab amazed the team so much that the operation was repeated several times and under different conditions. The result has not changed. The broken material only self-heals with this little pressure of a few seconds. However, it takes about a few hours for the crystal to recover its state.

While research teams and even cell phone manufacturers have already made progress in this area, this is the first time that a material of this type of hardness can be repaired at room temperature. If extended, this innovation could say goodbye to costly cellphone screen repairs or tablets, in addition to helping reduce equipment scrap due to the failure of one of its most fragile parts, screens.