Image source: www.redorbit.com
When buying a smartphone, a protective case is almost a reflex buy. Available in a variety of colours, forms, shapes, these smartphone cases are pleasing to the eye but do not offer us the comfort that they will protect the phone forever. The smartphone case bears the brunt of everyday usage and does not have a very long life. But researchers at Yale University have now been successful in making cases out of bulk-metallic glasses (BMGs) that will be ‘around 50 times harder than plastic and 3 times harder than steel and yet remain lightweight to be made into cases.’
Researcher Jan Schroers, spent over a decade, trying different approaches to work with bulk metallic glasses and make them malleable. While the standard method of working of metals would be to heat them and then mold them to desired shapes, Prof. Schroers used the technique called ‘supercooling’ to soften the metal by cooling, enough for it to be molded. Not only can BMGs then be molded as plastic, the method is also energy efficient and requires much lesser form of energy.
Prof. Schroers has now launched a spin-off company called Supercool Metals,which will further develop this technique and scale it up for mass production. So, your super sturdy cell phone case might take a little while to reach you. Here’s Prof. Schroers speaking about his BMGs