Mobile phones, iPads and iPhones often suffer cracks or scratches that are too small to detect, causing malfunction. Researchers have now come up with a new quick-fix method to take care of these. A team from the universities of Pittsburgh and Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), the US, have come up with a “repair-and-go” approach to fix such malfunctions.
“Anything that’s a machine with a surface is affected by these small-scale cracks,” said Anna Balazs, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and project co-investigator.
“These are surfaces that play a role in almost anything, especially functionality,” said Balazs, the journal Nature Nanotechnology reports.
The research team’s approach was inspired by the ability of white blood cells in the body to heal wounds on-site. Balazs and Pitt first came up with a theoretical “repair-and-go” method.
A flexible microcapsule filled with a solution of nanoparticles would be applied to a damaged surface; it would then repair defects by releasing nanoparticles into them, according to Pitts-Massachusetts statement.
Balazs proposed that manufacturers use this method as a last step in the building process. “The repair-and-go method can extend the lifetime of any system or device.”
“Additionally, it could be used as a repair method after a crack has been found,” said Balazs.