Feeds

UNBREAKABLE bendy phone screens built, thanks to SHELLFISH

Always dropping your mobe? New laser technique increases toughness 200 times

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Engineers have borrowed a technique from shellfish to build a pre-stressed form of glass that can bend rather than break.

As anyone who has dropped their phone from a height knows, glass has a tendency to fracture when struck. But boffins at McGill University's department of mechanical engineering have developed a new form of glass that is pre-cracked by lasers, with the resulting tiny fissures being filled with polyurethane to make the substance capable of bending on impact.

"What we know now is that we can toughen glass, or other materials, by using patterns of micro-cracks to guide larger cracks, and in the process absorb the energy from an impact," said Professor François Barthelat.

"We chose to work with glass because we wanted to work with the archetypal brittle material. But we plan to go on to work with ceramics and polymers in future. Observing the natural world can clearly lead to improved man-made designs."

The inspiration from the design came from 20 years of research into the mystery of mollusk shells, which are mostly made up of brittle chalk but are still strong enough to withstand serious pressure. Shellfish use flexible connections to achieve this strength, and the engineers have been able to replicate this with glass.

"Compared with standard glass, which has no microstructure and is brittle, our bio-inspired glass displays built-in mechanisms that make it more deformable and 200 times tougher," the team reports in the journal Nature Communications.

"This bio-inspired approach, based on carefully architectured interfaces, provides a new pathway to toughening glasses, ceramics or other hard and brittle materials." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.