Scratch-resistant glass is good for the environment (and your phone)
University of Queensland start-up company TenasiTech has received more than $3 million in investor support for the development of scratch-resistant and environmentally sustainable acrylic glass, suitable for use in the computer, electronics and automotive industries.
The company’s chief scientific officer, Professor Darren Martin, explained that the acrylic glass market is “worth almost $6 billion; however, the material’s poor scratch resistance is a barrier to its more widespread use as a replacement for traditional glass”. Furthermore, the current standard for making scratch-resistant acrylic glass products involves strong solvents and chemicals to apply a “hard coat”.
“This process requires strict environmental monitoring because of the strong solvents and chemicals and is expensive because the coating must be applied after the plastic has been moulded into shape,” he said.
TenasiTech, on the other hand, has developed a ceramic nanoadditive for plastics and rubbers which is easy to incorporate into the manufacturing process, without strong chemical and solvent use. This means it comes at a fraction of the cost of other hardened acrylic products.
“The product can be supplied as a concentrate in 5 mm pellet form and, once processed into the acrylic glass, can significantly enhance the durability without any loss of impact strength,” Professor Martin said.
TenasiTech is an entrant in the 2015 Telstra Australian Business Awards, which celebrate the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of Australia’s small and medium businesses. Professor Martin believes the product will go far, claiming that “cracked or scratched device screens or casings on mobile phones, computers and flat screen TVs or automotive interiors might become a thing of the past”.
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