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Future Tech: 

Cracked smartphone screens could soon self-heal


Remember earlier this year when we told you about self-healing concrete? Fine, we’ll let you off, but maybe you’ll pay more attention if we told you the same principle could be applied to your shattered smartphone within the next five years.

The new material was originally intended for use in aeroplane wings, but research from the University of Bristol found a number of other potentially useful applications. It works in much the same way as blood does when forming a scab, whereby a liquid is released in between a newly formed crack that hardens to replicate its original form.

The material was presented at the Royal Society meeting in London last month, led by chemist Duncan Wass. He explained the process, saying, “We took inspiration from the human body. We’ve not evolved to withstand any damage – if we were like that we’d have a skin as thick as a rhinoceros – but if we do get damaged, we bleed, and it scabs and heals. We just put that same sort of function into a synthetic material: let’s have something that can heal itself.”

And it doesn’t stop at smartphones. The team from Bristol are also in talks with the likes of L’Oreal to develop a self-healing nail-varnish, and there’s even talks of a self-healing car paint, wind turbines that simply won’t crack and car windshields that can repair themselves next time a stone comes flying at them at a rate of knots. That’s right, think of the money saved from never having to get that windshield replaced ever again?

It’s one of the most innovative developments of late and the possibilities seem endless. The material appears to be extremely efficient, not to mention sustainable considering the costs of damages saved in the long run.

What do you think about this Bristol collective’s new creation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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