As with numerous best discoveries, the polymer was discovered by accident, The Guardian reports.
Apparently, you only need to press the glass together by hand to melt the material, and have the screen glue itself up - I wonder how that would affect 3D Touch, an iPhone gesture that involves applying more pressure to the screen.
The discovery could be a boon for consumers who are forced to walk around with broken screens on their phones, provided companies decide to use it in their designs.
Now, though, scientists from the University of Tokyo have published a fascinating study in Science describing a new polymer for self-repairing smartphone screens.
A new kind of highly durable glass-like polymer that can heal on its own has been discovered by Professor Takuzo Aida's team of researchers from the University of Tokyo.More news: Lions Become Rockettes For Christmas-Themed Touchdown Celebration
The groundbreaking new material could lead to virtually unbreakable phone screens. Pressing the edges manually for 30 seconds at a room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius formed a strong sheet that bridged the gap.
Yanagisawa told NHK that he didn't believe the results at first and repeated his experiments multiple times to confirm the finding. Yanagisawa hopes that polyether-thioureas will prove an environmentally friendly material as components made from it can be fixed rather than thrown away. "In most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120 degrees Celsius or more, to reorganize their cross-linked networks is necessary for the fractured portions to fix".
"High mechanical robustness and healing ability tend to be mutually exclusive", the researchers wrote on their paper. After leaving the cracked joint for a longer period, say a couple of hours, it is claimed that the healed material will have regained its original strength.
Although other self healing materials have been made, they require 'in most cases, heating to high temperatures, on the order of 120°C or more, to reorganise their cross-linked networks, is necessary for the fractured portions to fix, ' the team said.