New Glass Inspired By Seashells Promises Longer Durability

Oct, 2021 - By WMR

New Glass Inspired By Seashells Promises Longer Durability

Scientists developed a new, durable glass inspired by mother of pearl, the shiny material inside shells of crustaceans.

Glass is a common material and very useful in present times yet again it is delicate and easily breakable. A team of scientists at McGill University created a new glass taking inspiration from mollusc shell, they made it more durable and tougher. This new glass possesses flexibility of plastic making it shatterproof. High durability of this glass could be used in cell-phone displays to make them screens more long-lasting. The novel glass gets its durability from structure inspired by the inner, iridescent layer of seashell, which makes it three times stronger and five times more fracture resistant than conventional glass.

While techniques such as laminating and moderating protect glass, they are not long lasting and are expensive. To create this new glass with maximum durability, the researchers developed acrylic composite material that imitates nacre (commonly known as mother of pearl). Nacres are rigid as inflexible substances and durable as plastic substances. The microstructures inside nacre make it 3000 times stronger than the material that forms it. The team imitated the structure with a mixture of glass flakes and acrylic, which provides the stiffness of platelets and elasticity similar to nacres. Furthermore, in order to keep the transparency of the glass, the team tuned the refractive index of acrylic with glass.

The results showed, the new material developed is three times tougher than the traditional glass as well as consists 5 times more fracture resilient than the normal glass. The scientists explain, this approach to create stronger glass could be scalable and the material gained from it efficient enough to be used to create more durable and stronger displays for mobile phones and different devices. The team plans to study further characteristic of the material in future.

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