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Earth Science

Spray-On Liquid Glass 293

bLanark writes with news of a new substance that can be sprayed on for a durable, easy-to-clean film on almost any substance, hard or soft. The liquid glass is essentially pure silicon dioxide, and it goes on in a layer 15 to 30 atoms thick. It is breathable and flexible, but waterproof and resistant to bacterial growth. The patent is held by a German company, Nanopool, which is in discussion with many parties about a wide range of uses: keeping public spaces sanitary, keeping restaurants clean, and keeping cars or trains clean. "The spray forms a water-resistant layer, meaning it can be cleaned using only water. Trials by food-processing companies showed that sterile surfaces covered with a film of liquid glass were equally clean after a rinse with hot water as after their usual treatment with strong bleach."
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Spray-On Liquid Glass

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  • Anti-graffiti? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:19PM (#31002002)

    I wonder if this could help make graffiti removal easier. Spray this on a clean road sign, and then just wash it with water if it gets tagged. Sure could help new drivers in Los Angeles.

  • by bistromath007 ( 1253428 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:32PM (#31002148)
    I think that was his point and he's just not incredibly competent at communicating it.
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:37PM (#31002208)

    "What're ya gonna keep it in?"

    In a magnetic field, as is done with plasma.

  • Re:Silicosis? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pz ( 113803 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:45PM (#31002272) Journal

    If it's that thing of a layer, wont it be prone to breaking off and becoming airborne? Sounds like silicosis-fun-times to me.

    Yeah. Silica-based glass is not very hard. Although this coating is reportedly flexible, I'm betting that it will be readily breached with a sharp edge, so that the example application, on food processing surfaces, at least ones that come in contact with knives, tools and containers, won't be that useful. Stainless steel works by more-or-less the same idea (a thin, hard oxide forms at the surface), except that it has the advantage that when -- not if -- the oxide layer is damaged, a new one automatically forms.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:46PM (#31002294)

    OP was pointing out that spraying a thin layer of a substance that is known to damage the lungs when inhaled over everything you own is a good way of ensuring said damage to your lungs.

    EROSION, people. Most mountains are made of solid granite a harder substance than glass a glass shell, yet they are scoured into sand over time by the simple act of the wind blowing particulate against them. A glass shell over your counter-top is going to be silicon dust in the air in a few months of use, if it lasts that long.

  • by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:53PM (#31002364) Homepage

    I can feel my lungs beginning to itch, ahhh Silicosis [wikipedia.org] - how nice that EVERYTHING will be covered in a fine layer of silicon that *WILL* wear away and add some lovely fine powdered glass to my daily breathing.

  • by iris-n ( 1276146 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:59PM (#31002434)

    Nice trolling.

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @07:12PM (#31002548)

    Bleach is the nuke that people who are serious about killing bacteria use to clean their counters with. Antibacterial cleaners are the things the amateurs at home use.

    If you can satisfy the pros that they don't need to use bleach on their counters then the only remaining reason for anyone to use an antibacterial cleaner on his counter at home is superstition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @07:26PM (#31002678)


    What about the:
    sex offenders
    potential broken glass
    wet material probably filled with all sorts of bacterial life, possibly even HIV, hep or any others.

    Damn, beaches are dangerous. /paranoid parents

    I hate these past few decades, they need to die. :(

  • Re:New? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @07:28PM (#31002700) Journal

    I'm curious about the strength of such a coating; there doesn't not appear to be any suggestion that the glass is bonded to the surface by anything stronger than van der Waals forces.

    If the short-chains bond to each other, some of them might bond to the surface (if its structure is appropriate).

    Even if not, unless the surface is mirror-smooth it will have irregularities. A liquid that cross-links into a solid will wrap such irregularities and form a mechanical interference bond - like a surface wrapped under a rivet, a mushroom-shaped extension into a void, or a root into a crack.

    Van der Walls forces are not trivial - especially between form-fitted irregularly-shaped solids. And if the "glass" and its substrate have any charge asymmetry the setting glass will also tend to settle into place with opposite charges nearby, forming something like a hydrogen bond.

    This might stick on to many surfaces very well.

  • Re:Or even bigger (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @11:08PM (#31004884) Homepage

    One ton on a 1000 or even more ton train is nothing. Even on one wagon it's not really something to worry about.

  • But I do toss stuff onto my counters all the time. Abrasive stuff like my keys, heavy stuff like cast iron pots, and even just sharp and pointy stuff like a pile of silverware.

    You mean similar to the way people slam cast iron pots and piles of silverware onto glass cooker tops, cutting boards, etc?

    We use glass a hell of a lot, and silicosis is not a problem. You're going to need evidence to back up your statement.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:11PM (#31013526)

    You really seem to be getting caught up on not being able to tell the difference between something that is 30 atoms thick and something that is a quarter of an inch thick and made of tempered glass [wikipedia.org] rather than raw silica.

    Unless you think this process includes popping the coated object in a forge, again I say: Apples -> Oranges.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:20PM (#31017710) Journal

    Antibacterial soaps and solutions will never create super-germs because they are the equivalent of a nuclear bomb to germs.
    Current research would disagree with that point of view, see Disinfectant could increase antibiotic resistance of bug [irishtimes.com]. Also remember there is a big difference between a consumer grade "sanitizer" and a Hospital Grade Disinfectant, on an otherwise clean hard surface 1 cm^2 contaminated with 1M "germs" the consumer grade sanitizer kills 99.9% of the germs leaving 1000 on the surface, the hospital grade kills 99.999% leaving only 10, both require a minimum 10 minutes of contact time; when is the last time you've seen anybody allowing 10 minutes of contact time. For grins and giggles try washing your hands for the recommended 30 seconds, as measure by a clock, 10 seconds will seem like a long time.

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