In an advance toward glass that remains clear under the harshest of conditions, scientists are reporting development of a new water-repellant coating that resists both fogging and frosting. Their research on the coating, which could have uses ranging from automobile windshields to camera lenses, appears in the journal ACS Nano.
Michael F. Rubner, Robert E. Cohen and colleagues point out that anti-fogging coatings that absorb water have been the focus of attention lately because of their ability to reduce light scattering and the resultant distortion caused by condensation. However, under extreme fogging conditions, these surfaces may frost and become foggy. They set out to make a better coating to withstand the aggressive conditions.
Their report describes development and testing of a new coating that rapidly absorbs water molecules that cannot freeze in the coating. At the same time, the coating has a water-repelling or hydrophobic effect to larger water droplets. The hydrophobic character means that water droplets do not spread extensively on the coating but essentially remain as flattened droplets.
Polyurethanes in products from cushy sofas to stretchy spandex have made sitting, sleeping and walking more comfortable. But once they have served their purpose, most of the non-degradable materials pile up in landfills. Now scientists report a potential way to reduce future waste: a chemic ... more
As renewable energy sources grow, so does the demand for new ways to store the resulting energy at low-cost and in environmentally friendly ways. Now scientists report in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters a first-of-its-kind development toward that goal: a rechargeable ... more
Humboldt penguins live in places that dip below freezing in the winter, and despite getting wet, their feathers stay sleek and free of ice. Scientists have now figured out what could make that possible. They report that the key is in the microstructure of penguins' feathers. Based on their ... more
Have you ever seen a foam cup appear to melt away in acetone? Foam cups, bowls and containers are made of a lightweight but strong material – expanded polystyrene. How then does acetone reduce this substance to a blob of goo? In this week’s video, we team up with chemistry professor Matt Ha ... more
3-D printing has inspired visions of manufacturing revolutions but is currently held back by inefficiency and the underwhelming quality of available materials. Innovators at the California startup Carbon say they have overcome these barriers with a blend of chemistry and engineering. In the ... more
Throughout the history of science, many major discoveries came accidentally. Sometimes they came from recognizing potential in an unexpected product or waste. Other times, discovery came out of pure desperation from a seemingly dead-end experiment. Here are some of those happy accidents tha ... more