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Canada Science Technology

Canadian Researchers Develop Permanent Anti-Fog Coating 146

Posted by timothy
from the what-would-you-use-it-for? dept.
cylonlover writes "Tired of your glasses fogging up on cold days, or of having to spit in your dive mask before putting it on? Those hassles may become a thing of the past, as researchers from Quebec City's Université Laval have developed what they claim is the world's first permanent anti-fog coating. Just one application is said to work indefinitely on eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses, or any other transparent glass or plastic surface."
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Canadian Researchers Develop Permanent Anti-Fog Coating

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    • I wonder if silicone beads work the same in goggles
      • You mean those packets of DO NOT EAT that we all have laying around?

        Dunno, isn't it a short step from DO NOT EAT to DO NOT PUT IN EYES?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by atari2600a (1892574)
          It's not like I said to remove it from it's original packaging, grind into a fine paste, & apply topically to your cornea...
        • Dunno, isn't it a short step from DO NOT EAT to DO NOT PUT IN REMAINING EYE?

          Fixed that for you.

  • Swimming goggles would be a go for this. Every time I see someone spitting into them in the pool I want to drown them.
  • Just like the "scratch proof" and "anti glare" coatings they ripped me off for when I bought my glasses. Neither work!
    • I agree about anti-glare, that wears off pretty fast, especially if you use anything but water and a lens cloth to clean your glasses.

      But the scratch proof stuff is truly magic! I had a chance to compare my eight year old glasses with some cheap glasses one of my relatives' children had, and man, was there a world of difference. And I'm not really careful with my glasses either, I've lost them tons of times when playing football or skiing.

      • by YoshiDan (1834392)
        Mine have the scratchproof coating and they are scratched to shit and they're only 6 months old :( I'm fairly careful with them too... Not to mention that the coating bubbles sometimes; I had that problem with my old glasses.
        • by Khyber (864651)

          Your glasses should come with a multi-year delaminating damage warranty if they come with specialized coatings.

        • by omglolbah (731566)

          All coatings are not equal. I've had some bad ones, but the current glasses are damn nice.

          Expensive as hell though... about 500 bucks per lense. (-10.5 / -10.75)

          • If your prescription is -10.5/-10.75, $1000 a pair is steep but not outside the realm of feasible. $500 a pair, if that's what you meant, is cheap. (I'm a -13/-12.75.)
        • by xaxa (988988)

          My glasses are completely scratch-free, they're about 18 months old. I think the anti-glare coating is fine too.

          I'm careful-ish with them. I rarely drop them, but I often clean them just by rubbing them on my clothes. They were about £80 (or maybe £40, I can't remember if I got two pairs for the price of one), but they're only -1.25-ish diopters.

          Maybe ask friends and colleagues for a recommendation? A few people have recommended online companies (you just give them your prescription), though I h

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            I have to use a clean cloth. Anything else usually leaves a fine smearing of oil (enough that I can see it). Drives me insane.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Decent anti glare will last forever unless you clean with sandpaper.

        The cheap crap that is on the garbage lenses (yes if you paid less than $260.00 a lens your glasses are garbage) does wear off and smear and scratch easily. but the good stuff on the high end super thin lenses is a miracle. I even have the dirt repelling coating and it's amazing how much cleaner the lenses stay.

  • From TFA:

    The actual anti-fog coating itself is composed of polyvinyl alcohol, which is a hydrophilic compound that causes the individual droplets of condensation to disperse

    Unless I'm waaaay off, I think they mean hydrophobic, as in "it doesn not bond with water".

    • Re:Uhm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Friday March 18, 2011 @04:43AM (#35527244) Journal

      From TFA:

      The actual anti-fog coating itself is composed of polyvinyl alcohol, which is a hydrophilic compound that causes the individual droplets of condensation to disperse

      Unless I'm waaaay off, I think they mean hydrophobic, as in "it doesn not bond with water".

      Um, you are, indeed, way off.

      A hydrophobic coating would cause condensation to coalesce into droplets minimizing contact area between the condensate and the surface. In other words, it would fog the surface: due to refraction and internal reflection, small water droplets in air are essentially opaque while large droplets act as distorting lenses.

      A hydrophilic coating, on the other hand, causes the condensation to form a continuous film maximizing contact between the condensate and the surface. This would remain transparent and would not greatly distort images viewed through it unless the amount of condensate was very large.

      • by Xacid (560407)
        Ahh, learned something new today. Thanks. :)
    • by eggled (1135799)
      Yup. you're waaayy off. It's hydrophilic. Hence the "dispersing" and not "beading" of the water on the surface. Hence the anti-fog capabilities.
  • PLEASE!!!

    I'm one of those people who perspires walking in a blizzard.

    I would pay quite a bit more for a working anti-fog coating than anything that is currently on the market, since they don't work very well for me. I need my snowboard-riding goggles, my motorcycle face shields (and, yes, I have ridden with snow all around; just don't ride on ice) , and ALL of my sunglasses coated.

    • by snowgirl (978879)

      It doesn't even have to be snowing or cold enough for snowing for motorcycle face shields to fog up. If it's cold enough that you can "HAH!" onto a window and have it fog up, eventually your face shield is going to fog up. (Especially, while stopped!)

      Anti-fog for motorcycle face shields is a SUPER must have in any weather at about 50 or colder.

      • by dltaylor (7510)

        Tell me about it. (oh, you did).

        I very often ride with the smallest face shield opening the helmet will latch. Still get fogging on the sunglasses underneath, though.

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          Tell me about it. (oh, you did).

          I very often ride with the smallest face shield opening the helmet will latch. Still get fogging on the sunglasses underneath, though.

          I picked up a smoked face shield, it lets you ride with the smallest face shield openning, _and_ have sunglasses.

          Also, I found not putting my head sock up over my nose keeps the moisture from being blown back up into my sunglasses/glasses. (I have to wear glasses any time I am driving/riding, so moisture on those REALLY bites.) Of course, this also means your nose will freeze a lot, but at least you'll be able to see.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        It's got nothing to do with the temperature, it's just that as the temp gets lower the carrying capacity of air gets lower and you get more condensation on the shield. I've personally seen my helmet fog up when the whether was well into the 80s. Which is why I promptly bought a permanent fog proof lens for my helmet.

        Which is also why I'm a bit surprised that /. is this many years behind a permanent fog proof coating being developed. I got mine from Pinlock [pinlockusa.net]

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          It's got nothing to do with the temperature, it's just that as the temp gets lower the carrying capacity of air gets lower

          So it has everything to do with the temperature then?

        • Thanks for the link, that should save me having to ride with my visor up in cold ass weather.
        • by snowgirl (978879)

          It's got nothing to do with the temperature, it's just that as the temp gets lower the carrying capacity of air gets lower and you get more condensation on the shield. I've personally seen my helmet fog up when the whether was well into the 80s. Which is why I promptly bought a permanent fog proof lens for my helmet.

          well, I've really only lived in two places: New Mexico, and Seattle. Both have a pretty consistent water saturation of the air... (NM being almost no where near, and the later being almost always above) So, I'm really only used to temperature being the variant, but now that I remember/realize that other people live in places with varying water content of the air, yes, you're totally right.

    • Fog City laminates [feridax.com] have never failed me. They aren't generic fits, though.
    • by Inda (580031)
      Motorbikes -

      I used to wear an open face helmet, with removeable chin guard, foam face protector and googles. The idea was to keep my warm breath off the clear plastic I looked through. Think motor-X style.

      No way perfect but better than a full helmet.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Then buy the stuff we use for motorcycle helmets. I use "cat crap" and it's fantastic.

    • by Unkyjar (1148699)

      I'm one of those people who perspires walking in a blizzard.

      You should stop walking in blizzards then. *nods sagely* *smokebomb* *flee*

    • Try Scott No-Fog cloth. Any cycle shop should carry it. You fog up the shield/goggles with your breath and then wipe it dry with the cloth. I've tried everything on the market and nothing compares. The semi-pro off road racers I've met use Rain-ex on the inside of their goggles, but even that didn't work for me.
  • I've just got out of my shower and can't see through my living-room windows as they've all fogged up. On the plus side - it's cold and wet outside, and I can't see it anymore!
    However, to get back on topic, I think this is a seriously cool bit of tech if they can pull it off cheaply enough to enable it to be used widely. How many times have you got in your car in the winter, cleared the snow, turned the heaters on and promptly found that every window in the vehicle steams up so you can't see anyway - how u

    • by mcvos (645701)

      I've just got out of my shower and can't see through my living-room windows as they've all fogged up.

      That's incredibly convenient if your neighbours live close enough to look into your living room.

    • If your heater is working, shouldn't the windows clear quickly?

      much better use of my money than tinting the windows

      If it snows enough that you need to clear it off your car, you probably don't need tinted windows in the summer.

      • by Unkyjar (1148699)

        Well, you don't really NEED tinted windows ever.

      • In cold climates it can get quite hot in the summer.

        Compare:
        http://www.theweathernetwork.com/statistics/CL6158350/caon0696 [theweathernetwork.com] - Toronto weather
        http://www.theweathernetwork.com/statistics/C02744/usca0982 [theweathernetwork.com] - San Diego weather

        The summer highs aren't that different.

        • 25 C isn't hot; it's barely even warm - and those temperatures in SD are from the airport, which is right on the (cold) water. Yes, it does occasionally get very hot in Toronto, but then again it occasionally snows in Montgomery, Alabama. A better comparison would be to, say, Las Vegas, where the average summer high is about the same as the record high for Toronto. Latitude is also important - outside temperatures are much less important than the intensity of sunlight shining in.
          • *shrug*

            It's all relative. It does routinely get hot in the summer around here. Hot enough that some people find their cars more comfortable if they tint their windows.

  • Problem is dirt (Score:5, Informative)

    by snsh (968808) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:19AM (#35527400)
    The difficulty with anti-fog surfaces is keeping it clean. For glasses/sunglasses this isn't so hard since you can easily clean the lenses in a sink with soap. For the inside surface of a car windshield it's a totally different story. In most cars the inside windshield fogs up mostly because it's dirty. The windshield glass itself is hydrophilic enough that it wouldn't be fogging up a lot, but there's a layer of goop on the glass that's hydrophobic which fogs up easily. The goop resembles a mix of everything you ever smell inside the car (new car smell, old car smell, exhaust fumes, McDonalds, Starbucks, bad breath). If you try super-thoroughly cleaning one half the windshield, and not clean the other half, you'll get an idea of how bad it is.
    • by jamesh (87723)

      If you try super-thoroughly cleaning one half the windshield, and not clean the other half, you'll get an idea of how bad it is.

      Got any tips for cleaning the glass? Whenever I try it just seems to move the layer of muck around, and I only notice that I've done a crappy job when the sun is shining in on the right angle.

      • Re:Problem is dirt (Score:5, Informative)

        by velinion (582423) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:43AM (#35527510) Homepage

        1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent, and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.

        Spray on window, and rub vigorously with terry cloth. Works wonders.

        • by Alsee (515537)

          I have a sudden and inexplicable urge to get a pedicure.

          ::checks address bar::

          slashdot.org

          ::shrugs::

          ::schedules pedicure appointment::

          -

      • Re:Problem is dirt (Score:5, Informative)

        by snsh (968808) on Friday March 18, 2011 @05:51AM (#35527540)
        I take a bottle of standard glass cleaner (ammonia + surfactant) and 5% alcohol and 5% acetone. On a warm day in the shade with the doors open, wear gloves, hold your breath, spray on a crumpled newspaper and use that to clean.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I think the "warm day in the shade" advice is what's most useful here. The newspaper advice is BAD, though, because they don't really print newspapers worth a crap and they leave ink on your windshield. At least, any newspaper I can get my hands on does. I usually use paper towels because they are absorbent and because all my cotton rags rapidly end up greasy and thus utterly unsuitable for windshield cleaning... because I don't just clean, I fix stuff too.

          • The newer eco-friendly soy based ink is the problem.

          • by hawkfish (8978)

            I think the "warm day in the shade" advice is what's most useful here. The newspaper advice is BAD, though, because they don't really print newspapers worth a crap and they leave ink on your windshield. At least, any newspaper I can get my hands on does. I usually use paper towels because they are absorbent and because all my cotton rags rapidly end up greasy and thus utterly unsuitable for windshield cleaning... because I don't just clean, I fix stuff too.

            I had a friend many years ago who worked construction. He said that they always used newspaper to clean the windows because it did not leave dust. I have tried this and found it to be true, but I always wondered about the ink. Still, it seemed to work and any ink residue was not noticeable, but the lack of lint most definitely was.

            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              I had a friend many years ago who worked construction. He said that they always used newspaper to clean the windows because it did not leave dust. I have tried this and found it to be true, but I always wondered about the ink. Still, it seemed to work and any ink residue was not noticeable, but the lack of lint most definitely was.

              They DO sell unprinted newsprint paper you know. It's the same stuff as packing paper (what packers would wrap around fragile items to protect them).

              it comes in rolls and sheets,

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I had a friend many years ago who worked construction. He said that they always used newspaper to clean the windows because it did not leave dust. I have tried this and found it to be true,

              I tried it and found it to be false. The paper left ink AND dust on my window. I think you must have a higher grade of paper, with a more toxic grade of ink.

              The best thing to clean the inside of your windshield with is a cotton towel. Or so said the veteran paint and body man of twenty-five years with whom I studied for two. The outside is cleaned with whatever you like, scraped with a silicone blade, and then touched up with the same towel. Sap is removed with a razor blade scraping in one direction and wi

      • I used a pack of window cleaning wipes when I bought my car (used) and it worked pretty well. I dried with a clean cloth (better to use one that isn't going to leave little fibers everywhere) after to get rid of any residue. Make sure not to get any finger oils on the part of the cloth you're going to dry the window with otherwise it will obviously just end up greasy.

        If you've got really thick muck, then I'd say give the windows a good old fashioned clean with soapy water once or twice, drying with a towel

      • That was a good question actually. I just recently obtained my driver's license and a car so this is something I too should probably learn. Since you've gotten already several nice responces I'm just gonna thank you for posing the question in the first place :)

        • Something else you might want to try is RainX. It's a hydrophobic silicone polymer that you can apply on the outside of the windshield to repel water. It works well enough that I also use it in our home on the glass shower doors to lengthen the time between us having to clean the inside of the shower.

          • They make an anti-fog coating as well. Sometimes I use it on the bathroom mirrors. It works wonders, for a few days. Then I get too lazy to re-apply it for a while.

      • It's a massive, massive PITA. The easiest way to do it is to spend a lot of time getting it clean, and then just keep it clean. If your windshield's super-filthy (it almost certainly is), use Windex or detergent-water for the first cleaning (unless you have tint over your whole windscreen, in which case you skip to the next step and add lots of elbow grease). This isn't going to get it anywhere near the surgical-clean you need to keep fog at bay.

        From there, clean with a damp paper towel (don't let your fing

      • Glass cleaners like Windex are pretty good at dissolving the goop, but damp paper towels (followed by dry paper towels or terry cloth) are needed afterward to wipe the detergent residue off. This works wonders for the windows in your house, too. And paper towels and water are really the only things I use to clean my monitor and televisions, unless there's some really stubborn deposit.
      • by Unkyjar (1148699)

        $15 at a hand carwash place?

    • by hcdejong (561314)

      For glasses/sunglasses this isn't so hard since you can easily clean the lenses in a sink with soap.

      Uh, do you actually wear glasses? Mine need cleaning every day, and I'm not going to take the time to do it in a sink. I mostly use a soft cloth instead.

  • by ledow (319597)

    No coating of any kind has ever worked on anything I've bought. I'm very careful with everything but coatings just don't last if you use the item often enough to get it dirty, need to clean it, etc. There is no such thing as a "permanent coating" when it comes to glass and plastic that are flexible enough, or under such force, that they move.

    Glass-fogging is also not a major problem except in a closed environment (e.g. a camera lens). You carry a tissue. Low-tech but it means your glasses cost less than

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:05AM (#35528168)
    ... will finally do something!
  • If it splashes in your eyes, will your tear ducts stop working forever?

  • Yes, but can they add this to a bottle of KY lube, I hate when the friction fogs up my girlfriends glasses.

  • Yeah, but who wants to rub poutine all over their nice expensive goggles?

  • Great! I've always wanted an anti-frog coating.
  • > The university is currently in negotiations with a major eyewear manufacturer

      Yeah who could that be!? Luxottica since they own any and all eyeglasses related companies in the world anyway.

  • ... if you read the researcher's actual work instead of the commentary from the media (and Press Office), you'll see a lot more 'ifs', 'buts' and 'maybes' :

    We report on a polymer-based anti-fog coating covalently grafted onto glass surfaces by means of a multistep process. Glass substrates were first activated by plasma functionalization

    [From the abstract to this researcher's recent work on anti-fog coatings at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21381643%5D [nih.gov]

    So, you're going to drag this plasma functionaliz

  • - to elections?
  • got tired of wiping stuff over their hockey visors and having to clean their glasses upon entering the bar each time after going out for a smoke.

    Ingenuity at work!

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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