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Sunday, 22 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies, Functional coatings

MIT scientists develop anti-frost and anti-fog coating for glass

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

U.S. researchers prepare a surface with the ability to rapidly absorb molecular water from the environment while simultaneously appearing hydrophobic when probed with water droplets.

Antifogging coatings with hydrophilic or even superhydrophilic wetting behaviour have received significant attention

Source: Chester F Pindyurin Vasily/ Fotolia
Antifogging coatings with hydrophilic or even superhydrophilic wetting behaviour have received significant attention Source: Chester F Pindyurin V...

Antifogging coatings with hydrophilic or even superhydrophilic wetting behaviour have received significant attention due to their ability to reduce light scattering by film-like condensation. However, under aggressive fogging conditions, these surfaces may exhibit frost formation or excess and nonuniform water condensation, which results in poor optical performance of the coating.

In a new study, Hyomin Lee, Maria L. Alcaraz, Michael F. Rubner, and Robert E. Cohen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, show that a zwitter-wettable surface, a surface that has the ability to rapidly absorb molecular water from the environment while simultaneously appearing hydrophobic when probed with water droplets, can be prepared by using hydrogen-bonding-assisted layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA).

Enhanced antifog and frost-resistant behaviour

An additional step of functionalising the nano-blended PVA/PAA multilayer with poly(ethylene glycol methyl ether) (PEG) segments produced a significantly enhanced antifog and frost-resistant behaviour. The addition of the PEG segments was needed to further increase the nonfreezing water capacity of the multilayer film. The desirable high-optical quality of these thin films arises from the nanoscale control of the macromolecular complexation process that is afforded by the LbL processing scheme. An experimental protocol that not only allows for the exploration of a variety of aggressive antifogging challenges but also enables quantitative analysis of the antifogging performance viareal-time monitoring of transmission levels as well as image distortion is also described.

The study appears in the journal "ACS Nano” (DOI: 10.1021/nn3057966).

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