Friday, April 7, 2017

Cracked screen? Don't stress--science to the rescue by Kali Gipson

In schools many times the “nerds” are picked on for simply just being interested in a particular subject and wanting to know all about that subject. However, it is these “nerds” that invent amazing things to make our world a more convenient place.  Chao Wang is a chemist leading a research at the University of California Riverside in developing a self-healing screen for smartphones. The material these scientists are creating allows for scratched or cracked screens to repair themselves. The material is a stretchy polymer combined with an ionic salt. These two things create a bond called an ion-dipole interaction. An ion-dipole interaction is a force between charged ions and polar molecules. So, when this material breaks, the ion-dipole interaction causes the molecules and ions to attract one another, thus being able to heal the material. The material can stretch to 50 times its size-- meaning it can self-heal multiple times.
The material being stretched credit: Business Insider and Wang Lab
Material was cut in half (left) and then after it had healed(right) credit: Business Insider and Wang Lab

This isn’t the first time a self-healing material has been used on cell phones. The LG G Flex uses this technology in their cases. Wang’s goal is to tweak the material so that it can conduct electricity. and then he will be able to use it as a screen. There has even been talk of using the material in phone batteries as well to allow a longer battery life. One obstacle that Wang is working on is the fact that the material does not work as well in harsh conditions such as high humidity. Even though there seems to be a lot of work to do in this research, the self-healing phone screens are expected to hit the market in the year 2020.

Credits: Business Insider

Garfield, Leanna. "Scientists Have Invented a Smartphone-screen Material Designed to Repair Its Own Scratches." Business Insider. Business Insider, 04 Apr. 2017. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.

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