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MIT Researchers Invent 'Super Glass' 199

redletterdave writes "On Thursday, researchers at MIT announced a breakthrough in glass-making technology, which basically involves a new way to create surface textures on glass to eliminate all of the drawbacks of glass, including unwanted reflections and glare. The research team wanted to build glass that could be adaptable to any environment: Their 'multifunctional' glass is not only crystal clear, but it also causes water droplets to bounce right off its surface, 'like tiny rubber balls.' The glass is self-cleaning, anti-reflective, and superhydrophobic. The invention has countless applications, including TV screens, as well as smartphone and tablet displays that benefit from the self-cleaning ability of the glass by resisting moisture and contamination by sweat."
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MIT Researchers Invent 'Super Glass'

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  • For comparison... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @07:04PM (#39813937) Homepage
    For comparison with a water droplet (the closer to 180 degrees you get, the closer to a perfect non-wettable/sticky surface you have):

    This new glass (165 degree [] contact angle)
    The upcoming Neverwet [] material (160 to 175 degrees)
    Lotus leaf or even some birds' feather (150 degrees [])
    Rain-X (110 degrees [] - car windshield protector)
    Teflon (95-110 [] degrees - surprisingly low, but then it needs to be tough and heat-proof)
    Car wax (90 degrees)
    Human skin (90 degrees [] - PDF warning)

    I wonder what the durability of the glass is compared to Neverwet w(which is pervious to solvents, detergents, soap and high pressure water)...
  • Re:superhydrophobia (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:22PM (#39814821)

    The joke works just fine, but it requires a degree of literacy to get it. Long ago, "hydrophobia" was the name given to what we now call rabies, as one of the early symptoms of the illness is that the person or animal stops drinking water and slowly becomes dehydrated.

    I would say that superhydrophobia is when you shoot Old Yeller, and he just gets back up, angrier than before. That's when you notice he's wearing a cape.

  • Re:Vehicle Use? (Score:4, Informative)

    by slippyblade ( 962288 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:37PM (#39815055) Homepage

    Ever tried to break windshield glass? It doesn't. That's the whole point of windshield glass. If you watch the videos of rescuers pulling folks out through windshields, the windshield itself has been removed or pried to the side. Smashed, crazed, but still in effectively one piece.

  • Re:Vehicle Use? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tom17 ( 659054 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:39PM (#39815079) Homepage

    That's funny, I am used to using rain-x. When it wears and I need to start using the wipers again, I find the huge chunks of metal and rubber whooshing past my face to be very distracting while driving.

    It's all down to what you are used to :)

    Plus Rain-X does a much better job of giving you good visibility in seriously heavy rain (imo).

  • by shimage ( 954282 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:57PM (#39815271)
    Wavefronts will reflect off of any surface where there is a change in wave speed. If the lens works as a lens, then it's hard to remove the reflections. Coatings work by reflecting the light back through the lens element (in a manner of speaking), so it still works well. If I understand the article correctly, some lab at MIT came up with a surface texture that causes water to bead. Probably the fact that it is very finely textured is the reason that reflections aren't a big problem. That is fine in the same way that matte screens are fine, but this isn't going to work if you want clear pictures. It might be ok on consumer lenses, though.
  • Re:Not so perfect (Score:5, Informative)

    by k31bang ( 672440 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:12PM (#39815425) Homepage

    Yeah, we got that as well. I think it's called Aluminium oxynitride []. $15 a square inch. Fun stuff. ;-)

  • Re:Superhydrophobic? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @08:52AM (#39819423) Homepage
    The contact angle of a water droplet has to exceed 150 degrees. This makes it even better at keeping the surface completely dry and dirt free. Plain 'Hydrophobic' is merely more than 90 degrees.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351