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Materials

Sharp Replaces Glass With BioPlastic

by Jean-François Tremblay
July 20, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 29

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Credit: Sharp
Sharp’s new plastic-front smartphone.
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Credit: Sharp
Sharp’s new plastic-front smartphone.

A Sharp smartphone that uses a Mitsubishi Chemical bioplastic instead of glass on the front panel is going on sale in Japan this month. Mitsubishi claims that its Durabio plastic, made from plant-derived isosorbide, offers excellent optical properties as well as heat and shock resistance. The choice of material for the front panel of smartphones poses a conundrum for manufacturers. Although glass is clear and heat resistant, it is prone to breaking. On the other hand, most plastics have inferior optical properties, Mitsubishi says.

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