Read the Article on Science Daily

03 ScienceSilicon is not just for computers and breast enlargement anymore. It was reported on Science Daily today that scientists at Rice University have discovered that, in a liquid crystal state, silicon becomes 90% stiffer when gently and repeatedly compressed. Since silicon is biocompatible, this material can be used to engineer human tissue and may soon be used to patch up damaged cartilage. However, we can think of quite a few ways we’d like to see liquid crystal silicon put to use. Below are just a few.


Drop your phone or laptop? Accidentally throw the controller through the television screen? Not a problem. Just unroll a sheet of material, cut it down to size, gently compress until stiff, and replace your old screen. This same technology could be used to fix broken or cracked windows.


I have been known to do some crazy things, like go outside every once in a while for a hike. And while I do carry a first aid kit around while hiking, it is really only equipped for minor scratches an cuts. With liquid crystal silicon, things like broken bones may be able to be set and casted up right there on the spot. Just like with replacing the screens in electronics, you’d just unroll some liquid crystal silicon material, wrap the break, and stiffen.

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As I left work one morning last month, I found a lovely sight. Someone had backed into my car, breaking the rear bumper. How nice it would have been for the person to leave a note and insurance information to get it fixed. However, they did not. It would have been nice then to have some material that could have quickly patched up the big hole in the bumper.


If we could somehow find a way to graft liquid silicon crystals into our living tissue we believe that we could see our wounds close up just like Wolverine. Good-bye annoying paper cuts and other boo-boos. Granted, we probably wouldn’t be able to survive gunshots or falls from airplanes, but our bodies could become just a little more resilient.

And what happens if you cut the wrong size or no longer need the fix you’ve applied? Simply heat the material and you reverse the stiffening process. The material can then be reused as needed. However, the article did not state if stiffening and unstiffening over time caused any structural problems in the silicon. What would our readers use this for? Give us your ideas in the comments below.