updated 12:20 pm EDT, Fri April 27, 2012
MIT research shows glass that bounces water off
MIT researchers have worked out a way to make glass without all the drawbacks in the medium. The 34 page research paper explains a method for making self-cleaning, hydrophobic and extremely clear glass.
Kyoo-Chul Park, a mechanical engineering grad student at MIT, explained in the paper the idea behind multifunctional glass, saying “Microscopic studies of the textured surfaces commonly encountered on living organisms, e.g. lotus leaves, desert beetles, and moth eyes, have revealed complementary roles of material properties and texture on the surface functionalities that have been developed during adaptation to different environments”
The glass is hydrophobic to the point where water droplets roll or bounce off the surface instead of sticking to the panel, due to the surface texture being covered with air pockets, thereby minimizing the amount of contact between the glass and droplets. Self-cleaning capabilities make the glass suitable for smartphones and tablets, lowering the effects of smearing and moisture from the hands.
The glass is also extremely clear, in that it lets more light through instead of reflecting it away. Normal glass may reflect more than half the light, while the new glass would reduce this to a much lower level. Work elsewhere by Nippon Electric Glass has accomplished the same non-reflective effect by creating a film that, when applied to a pane, would allow 99.5 percent of light to pass through. [via MIT News]