Your smartphone could get a whole lot tougher, thanks to the US Navy. It’s invented a new transparent material, called Spinel, that’s said to be more durable than glass.
We say your smartphone could get tougher, but that’s not what the Navy had in mind when producing it. Spinel, the result of 10 years of research, was intended for camera lenses on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), face-mounted shields or even for windows on its laser weapons.
But thanks to the way Spinel is made, it can be moulded into “virtually any shape”.
So what is Spinel? Well, it’s technically a mineral called magnesium aluminate, and it’s made from a process called sintering, which is also used for 3D printing.
For the sintering process, layers of crystal particles are pressed together. This means that, were the material to be subjected to damage, it would only chip rather than crack.
The technology has since been licensed to a company that’s able to produce Spinel in large quantities, and to "suit any application". So we'd comfortably bet it will make its way to smartphones and mobile devices in the future.
[Source: IB Times]