If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of a broken phone screen, you’ve probably wished there was a more durable material available for electronics. Thanks to researchers from McGill University, that may soon be a reality. The team has developed a new type of glass, inspired by the inner layer of mollusk shells, that is three times more resilient than traditional glass and five times more fracture resistant.
The new material is based on nacre, the resilient material that makes up mollusks, also called mother of pearl. It is made from glass and acrylic composite, making it both rigid and flexible. “Nature is a master of design. Studying the structure of biological materials and understanding how they work offers inspiration, and sometimes blueprints, for new materials,” said researcher Allen Ehrlicher.
Currently, techniques like tempering and laminating can help reinforce glass, but they are no longer effective once the surface is damaged. This new material is break-resistant, plus, it’s affordable and easy to produce. The researchers hope it will be used to replace cell phone glass and other electronics components. Moving forwards, they are working on scaling up production and altering the material’s color, mechanics, and conductivity properties.
Source study: Science – Centrifugation and index matching yield a strong and transparent bioinspired nacreous composite