Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC; Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Hiroaki Ishizuka) today announced that its bio-based engineering plastic DURABIO™ has been chosen by Sharp Corporation (Sharp; Head office: Abeno-ku, Osaka; President: Kozo Takahashi) for the front panel of its new smartphone, the AQUOS CRYSTAL 2, slated to go on sale in the middle of July 2015 through SoftBank Corporation (SoftBank; Head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Ken Miyauchi). The choice marks a world-first as bio-based engineering plastic has ever been used on the front panel of any smartphone.
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 light weight and increased durability compared to glass. Unfortunately, some traditionally available plastics offered excellent optical properties, but were more prone to cracking upon impact, while others that were impact-resistant tended to have poor optical properties. Therefore, as there was a need for considerable improvement in the plastics, the vast majority of smartphone manufacturers relied on glass for the front panels of their phones.
MCC-developed DURABIO™ is a bio-based engineering plastic made from plant-derived isosorbide, which features excellent performance as it offers higher resistance to impact, heat, and weather than conventional engineering plastics. In addition, it has excellent transparency and low optical distortion.
Recently, DURABIO™ has received high evaluations from Sharp as a plastic with superior shock resistance and optical characteristics, which led to the company’s selection of DURABIO™ for the front panel of the AQUOS CRYSTAL 2.
Based on its research and development into high-performance products, MCC is committed to playing a vital role in the manufacturing of eco-friendly, high-value-added products.