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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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  • winshield repair? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ak_hepcat ( 468765 ) <{leif} {at} {denali.net}> on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:01PM (#31001794) Homepage Journal

    Can I now avoid costly windshield replacements by simply spraying this stuff on my windshield after a ding storm, or crack?

    Because that'd be nice.

  • Silicosis? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pwnies ( 1034518 ) * <j@jjcm.org> on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:11PM (#31001894) Homepage 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.
  • by Orga ( 1720130 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:14PM (#31001936)
    Inhaling finely divided crystalline silica dust in very small quantities (OSHA allows 0.1 mg/m3) over time can lead to silicosis, bronchitis or (much more rarely) cancer, as the dust becomes lodged in the lungs and continuously irritates them, reducing lung capacities (silica does not dissolve over time). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_dioxide [wikipedia.org]
  • by tehniobium ( 1042240 ) <lukas@RABBITimf.au.dk minus herbivore> on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:16PM (#31001966)
    This guy doesn't entirely agree with you:


    I quote:

    <quote>In terms of molecular dynamics and thermodynamics it is possible to justify various different views that it is a highly viscous liquid, an amorphous solid, or simply that glass is another state of matter that is neither liquid nor solid. The difference is semantic.</quote>
  • by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:17PM (#31001972)

    So I'm all for moderation not being aligned with agreement, but I'm not sure how a factually incorrect post can be "Informative"...

    Oh, wait, I get it... the post informs us in that now we know chemists can fall for myths just like everyone else.

    (The reason old windows are thicker at the bottom is that they were built that way, for structural reasons.)

  • Think bigger (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:21PM (#31002026) Homepage Journal

    Forget your windshield, think YOUR ENTIRE CAR!

    No more clear coats, no more waxing, no more "rubberized under coating". If it is cheap, and light enough, you could coat every body panel and frame member with the stuff, virtually guarantying a rust proof existence.


  • by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:40PM (#31002230) Journal
    Think of the fun to be had spraying this stuff on the battery terminals of ipods, cell phones and other electronic devices of those you want to annoy. It's a party in can!
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @06:41PM (#31002238) Homepage Journal

    What if the universal solvent is inert from a electromagnetic standpoint?

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @07:19PM (#31002608)

    It's a solvent, dissolve some iron into it :-P

  • by tholomyes ( 610627 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @07:22PM (#31002638) Homepage
    Neither structural or aesthetic; glassblowers made the window panes by spinning the glass into large circles which were then cut. The glass circles were thinner towards the outer edge and installed thicker-side down for stability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass#Behavior_of_antique_glass [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:Think bigger (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mirix ( 1649853 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @07:24PM (#31002664)
    Maybe the yankee "tar" style undercoating, but the white rubberized undercoating on kraut cars lasts forever. I've got a 20 year old german car with the stuff on it, and it's like new under there. you need a torch to get the stuff off.
  • Not that this is really relevant (your point stands), but you've got some geological details wrong (IAAG).

    Most mountains have a lot of granite, yes, so I'll start with that - first, your assertion that granite is harder than glass is perhaps technically true, but there are several things to consider. Granite is composed primarily of quartz (hardness 7) and feldspar (hardness 6) while plate glass is traditionally considered to be hardness 5.5. Fine. But - glass is structurally solid and homogeneous, while granite is composed of a bunch of different mineral crystals stuck together, some of which (like biotite) might be considerably softer. This heterogeneity likely weakens the overall structure of granite (though this is far outside my areas of expertise within geology and material science).

    Most erosion in mountains comes from water, not wind. Wind is significant but only in certain areas in certain types of rock - think Arches National Park in Utah, with those wind-blown formations in sandstone, a very weak rock. For water to do anything, you need either something that will react chemically (which pure silicon shouldn't as far as I know) or you need mechanical action. This can be freezing and thawing like what cracks the roadway, or water carrying particulate over the surface (like in a stream). Again, with such a smooth, homogeneous surface, I don't see this being a problem... you don't really see erosion on glass windows, for example, even sloped ones.

    Erosion over hard surfaces (such as granite) is a big part of my research. It is extremely slow. How much erosion happens to rock counter tops, for example? Not all of those are granite, by the way, though they may be called that at home depot - there's a very wide range of minerals that goes into counter tops, many of which are soft enough to be eroded quite easily.

    And anyway - the "particulate" you mentioned as eroding mountains is particles of rock and mineral. Hard stuff. Unless you cook with sand, I really don't see this being a problem.

    What I'd be worried about is what happens in an impact. If you drop something heavy and sharp-edged on it, is it going to break? Even small breaks give you the opportunity for erosion as discussed. If this stuff fractures easily, then my points are partially invalid. It doesn't seem like that's the case, though. Seems like pretty great stuff.

  • Re:Think bigger (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mirix ( 1649853 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @10:05PM (#31004270)
    Nickels and dimes add up, I guess.
  • by orichter ( 60340 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @10:13PM (#31004338)

    I know this was meant as a joke, but the way wind shields are repaired is essentially spraying in some clear liquid which hardens. It might be difficult to use this spray to get a clear windshield, but the key thing which causes cracks to run is the sharpness of the crack. If this could be sprayed in soon after the crack forms, it may keep the crack from running by blunting the crack tip.

  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:22AM (#31005626)

    Window glass used to be made by blowing giant glass discs and cutting rectangles or diamonds out of them to piece together to make leaded windows. The method of blowing the glass discs resulted in glass that was often thicker on one side than the other. The person building the window would naturally orient the thicker side of each piece to the bottom of the window, to work with gravity to make the window stronger and longer-lasting.

    If the glass were really a flowing liquid, then the edges of the pieces would be rounded and deformed, but they are not. They are as sharp and straight as the day they were cut.

  • Re:Think bigger (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:43AM (#31006592) Homepage Journal

    I've often wondered if a sacrificial zinc would help postpone corrosion on land vehicles. I don't think there would be enough conductivity to create a closed circuit and protect an automotive chassis and body. After checking on wikipedia I think my skepticism is valid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrificial_anode [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:53AM (#31007012)
    No one has yet noted that this stuff will be a cheap and easy way to create aerosolized anthrax, which previously required special silicon coating equipment, that only the military had, to cover anthrax bacteria to keep them from clumping. I think this is bad news because it makes it a lot easier to make bioweapons.

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