Tough and Durable: The Science Behind Hardshell Phone Cases


When it comes to protecting your phone from drops, scratches, and other hazards, a hardshell phone case is a popular choice. These cases are designed to be tough and durable, providing a strong barrier between your phone and the outside world. But what makes them so effective? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind hardshell phone cases.

Materials Matter

One of the key factors in the durability of a hardshell phone case is the material it’s made of. Most hardshell cases are made from a type of plastic called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a lightweight yet strong material that’s known for its impact resistance. When a hardshell case is made from polycarbonate, it can absorb the shock of a drop or impact, protecting your phone from damage.


Design Features

Another important factor in the effectiveness of a hardshell phone case is its design. Many hardshell cases are designed with specific features that enhance their protective capabilities. For example, some cases have reinforced corners or edges that provide extra shock absorption in areas that are more prone to damage. Others have raised edges around the screen or camera lens to protect these areas from scratches and impacts.

Impact Resistance

Perhaps the most important aspect of a hardshell phone case is its ability to withstand impacts. To measure this, case manufacturers use a test called the drop test. During a drop test, a phone with a hardshell case is dropped from a specific height onto a hard surface. The case is then inspected to see if the phone sustained any damage. To pass a drop test, a hardshell case must be able to protect the phone from damage at a certain height.

Size and Fit

Finally, the size and fit of a hardshell phone case can also impact its durability. A case that’s too loose or too tight can make it easier for your phone to shift around inside the case during a drop, which can lead to damage. That’s why it’s important to choose a hardshell case that’s specifically designed for your phone model and that fits snugly around it.

Durability vs. Weight

One challenge in designing hardshell phone cases is balancing durability with weight. A heavier case may offer more protection, but it can also be cumbersome to carry around. To address this issue, some case manufacturers use a combination of materials in their designs. For example, a hardshell case may have a polycarbonate outer shell for impact resistance and a softer inner layer made of silicone or TPU for shock absorption. This can provide a balance between durability and weight, while still offering effective protection for your phone.

Drop Test Standards

While the drop test is a common way to measure the effectiveness of a hardshell phone case, there is no official standard for how this test should be conducted. As a result, different manufacturers may use different test methods and criteria for passing or failing the test. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare different cases and know which ones are truly the most protective. To address this, some independent testing organizations have developed their own drop test standards, which can provide a more consistent and reliable way to evaluate case durability.

Other Protective Features

In addition to the features mentioned earlier, some hardshell phone cases may also offer other protective features. For example, some cases have antimicrobial coatings that can help reduce the growth of bacteria on your phone’s surface. Others may have water-resistant or dustproof properties that can keep your phone safe in different environments. These additional features can add even more protection to your phone and enhance the durability of your hardshell case.


Overall, the science behind hardshell phone cases is all about finding the right combination of materials, design features, and protective properties to create a case that’s both tough and effective. By understanding these factors and doing your research, you can choose a hardshell case that’s best suited for your needs and help keep your phone safe from damage.