Researchers develop the first permanent anti-fog coating

March 16, 2011

Researchers under the supervision of Universite Laval professor Gaétan Laroche have developed the very first permanent anti-fog coating. Dr. Laroche and his colleagues present in the online edition of Applied Materials and Interfaces the details of this innovation which could eliminate, once and for all, the fog on eyeglasses, windshields, goggles, camera lenses, and on any transparent glass or plastic surface.

Fog forms on a when water vapor in the air condenses in fine droplets. "Despite appearances, the fog that forms on glasses is not a continuous film. In fact, it consists of tiny droplets of water that coalesce on the surface and reduce light transmission," explains Laroche, a professor at Université Laval's Faculty of Sciences and Engineering. "A good anti-fog coating should prevent the formation of such droplets."

Researchers used polyvinyl alcohol, a hydrophilic compound that allows water to spread uniformly. The challenge was to firmly attach the compound to the glass or plastic surface. To accomplish this, researchers applied four successive layers of molecules, which formed strong bonds with their adjoining layers, prior to adding the anti-fog compound over this base. The result was a thin, transparent, multilayered coating that does not alter the optical properties of the surface on which it is overlaid. In addition, the chemical bonds that join the different layers ensure the hardness and durability of the entire coating.

"Existing anti-fog treatments don't have these properties and won't withstand washing, so the product application must be repeated regularly," notes Professor Laroche. "Our , on the other hand, is permanent."

Two patents already protect this invention, which has numerous potential applications, including vehicle windshields, protective visors, camera lenses, binoculars, optical instruments used in chemistry and medicine, and corrective lenses. Negotiations are already underway with a major eyewear company interested in obtaining a license for this technology.

In addition to Gaétan Laroche, the study published in Applied Materials and Interfaces was coauthored by Pascale Chevallier, Stéphane Turgeon, Christian Sarra-Bournet, and Raphaël Turcotte.

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not rated yet Mar 16, 2011
these guys are rich although the money has not started to flow their way. they deserve it.
4 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2011
I developed a permanent anti fog coating years ago. I achieve the permanent bond by bolting sheets of wood to the glass surface which should prevent fogging of the glass. My research continues on overcoming the final hurdle of making the wood transparent, but I already have several patents and negotiations are underway with a company that makes special glasses for sports referees and a new indoor/outdoor version of the Kindle.

Kidding of course. That's pretty cool stuff above. Too bad it's a multilayer (meaning multi-step) process. Extra steps means extra cost. I will hold final judgement for the day when they are able to announce pricing. I would pay a bit extra for a car with anti-fog windows, but there's a limit. It would also need to be able to stand up to things like wiper blades. We'll see I guess.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2011
I would pay a bit extra for a car with anti-fog windows, but there's a limit. It would also need to be able to stand up to things like wiper blades. We'll see I guess.

Windshields need no anti-fog substance on the outside, as the windshield wipers take care of that already. It's the fog on the inside that can't be easily and effectively cleared. As a result, there isn't a worry that the anti-fog substance need to stand up to abrasion from wipers on an automobile.
not rated yet Mar 16, 2011
I'd like to see the exact opposite effect; a coating of such material when cooled could condense a great deal of water vapor. Being able to pull quantities of water out of the air inexpensively would be quite useful.
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
Windshields need no anti-fog substance on the outside, as the windshield wipers take care of that already.

You need to tell my car window about that. Driving to work today I could not keep the outside or the inside clear of fog. The wiper would clear it and it would return before the wiper came back. Frost is another reason a coating on the outside would be nice. A good antifog coating should also reduce frost.

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