Someday, digital citizens around the world may have a Yale professor to thank for the supercool, extra-durable case protecting their smartphones.
Jan Schroers, who teaches mechanical engineering and materials science, has created a thin, lightweight smartphone case that is harder than steel and as easy to shape as plastic. Schroers developed the technology for the cases in his Yale lab; now he’s ready for a partner to bring the product into mass production.
“This material is 50 times harder than plastic, nearly 10 times harder than aluminum and almost three times the hardness of steel,” Schroers said. “It’s awesome.”
For years, academic and commercial institutions have sought an effective technique for shaping these bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) — a new generation of strong-yet-pliable materials. Electronics casings, in particular, have been identified as a desirable application. Yet past attempts at finding a shaping process were unsuccessful.