Most front panels of smartphones are made of glass, and their susceptibility to cracking has been an ongoing problem. This has led manufacturers to consider polycarbonate and other plastics for the front panels because of their lightweight and increased durability compared to glass. However, most traditional plastics were more prone to cracking upon impact, while others that were impact-resistant tended to have poor optical properties.
Mitsubishi Chemical developed Durabio is a bio-based engineering plastic made from plant-derived isosorbide, which offers higher resistance to impact, heat and weather than conventional engineering plastics. The company says it also has excellent transparency and low optical distortion.
Sharp will use Durabio for the front panel of the Aquos Crystal 2.
Late last year major chemical companies including Mitsubishi Chemical, working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, published a guide to help chemical industry customers and stakeholders use more sustainable products.