Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata believe that they have developed a clear, durable, and self-healing material that could be used in mobile phone screens so that they can repair their own cracks in fraction of seconds.
Scientists have been working on developing materials that can fix themselves for many years, and they have had some success. But those materials were need some external stimulus such as heat, light or a chemical agent to heal themselves.
But according to The Telegraph India, the researchers at IISER and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur chose to focus on producing something that is tougher than typical self-healing material and “have synthesised an organic crystalline material with a unique internal molecular structure that spontaneously repairs itself when damaged (without using any external stimulus).”
“Our self-healing material is 10 times harder than others,” said Chilla Malla Reddy, a chemical sciences professor at the IISER who led the research. “And it has a crystalline structure, a well-ordered internal structure, the favoured structure in most electronics and optical applications.”
How this material heals itself?
According to the experimental results, the researchers utilized a piezoelectric organic material, which transfers mechanical energy to electrical energy and vice versa, to create needle-shaped crystals that are less than 2 mm long and 0.2 mm broad.
A strong attraction force develops between two surfaces due to their molecular arrangement in the specifically constructed crystals. When a fracture occurred, the attractive forces brought the parts back together without the requirement for an external stimulation like heat or other stimuli that most self-healing materials require.
Bhanu Bhushan Khatua, a member of the IIT Kharagpur team, stated, “I can imagine applications for an everyday device. Such materials could be used for mobile phone screens that will repair themselves if they fall and develop cracks.”