RESEARCHERS may have discovered a solution to one of life’s most annoying first-world problems — the dreaded cracked phone screen.
But walking around with a smashed screen or being in constant fear of getting one may soon be a thing of the past, with research from the Australian National University (ANU) heading the development of shatter-proof glass for mobile phones.
Aluminosilicate is the glass that is used to make smartphone screens and while it is a common component in many phones, lead researcher Charles Le Losq said not a lot was actually known about it on a microscopic level.
By adding in different elements to the structure of the glass, such as sodium and potassium, a new atomic structure was able to be set into the pane
These alterations could be developed to make the glass more resistant to breaking and more flexible.
“We inferred that we could use this knowledge to search for new properties and make glass harder,” Dr Le Losq told the ABC.
“This will require further work of course and will also require some collaboration with the industry. Now we can build on this but we’re talking time frames of maybe five to 10 years.”
Dr Le Losq’s research into increasing the durability of the glass began in Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris where he was working in 2010.
He continued to work on altering the material’s structure when he later moved to ANU in Canberra.
Overall, seven researchers from six universities across Australia, France, the UK and China have collaborated on the study.
While they have not yet discovered how to make completely shatter-proof phone screens, Dr Le Losq says this new development is a step in the right direction.
“The glass structure is still an ongoing problem for the material science community, so it’s very important to do this first step.”