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Hydrophobic Glass Coatings – Their Applications to Construction, Automotive and Marine Glass

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What is a Hydrophobic Coating?

A Hydrophobic coating is a general term used to describe something that can be applied to a surface to repel water. At the same time that it is repelling water, it also repels dirt, minerals, droppings, etc. and when used on glass, improves the visibility of glass and makes cleaning it and a lot easier.

In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of using an after-market glass coating product that we sell for boats and cars but these products can be just as easily applied to windows, showers, marble and stone counter tops as well as to the exterior glass balconies that we are famous for.

The Advantages of Using Hydrophobic Products on Cars and Boats

Such coatings assist in repelling water and dirt, which results in increased visibility whilst driving or piloting a vehicle, sail boat, yacht or larger ship.

Driving through rain poses a double challenge. On top of dealing with slippery roads, there’s the strain to see the road itself. Even the newest windscreen wipers can't always improve visibility and driver comfort.

Some of the advantages of an application to a vehicle windscreen are:

  • Greater safety - The secret is a special polymer coating applied across the entire glass surface, forming a durable barrier between the water and the windscreen. That not only prevents smearing, but when you travel above 50 km/h, the water actually slides off the glass, creating superior visibility on motorways, sometimes without the windshield wipers turned on.
  • 25% increase in driver response time - Drivers looking through hydrophobic glass appear to react to road conditions and hazards 25% faster than drivers behind standard glass. Those precious seconds can make all the difference.
  • The Teflon-like non-stick surface makes it easier to remove ice, dirt, insects and other objects from blocking your view. Much like Teflon used in cooking utensils, even though the utensils require cleaning, the food residue comes off easier and generally only requires a wipe with a cloth instead of scrubbing with an abrasive sponge. 

 

contact of water droplet with hydrophobic glass

Even though the utensils require cleaning, the food residue comes off easier and generally only requires a wipe with a cloth instead of scrubbing with an abrasive sponge.

  • 33% Better visibility - Hydrophobic glass increases visibility by 33% compared to untreated glass, under some conditions allowing you to see through a rainstorm with confidence and comfort. Note: hydrophobic glass improves visibility for the entire glass including areas the wipers cannot reach.
  • Highspeed safety - At speeds above 50 mph, water slides straight off the surface of hydrophobic glass, making it easier to see the road, sometimes, even with the wipers turned off.
  • Increased wiper life - Hydrophobic glass reduces the need for windscreen wiper use under normal conditions, slowing wear and tear on the blades.
  • Easier to clean - The surface of hydrophobic glass makes it much easier to remove ice, insects, dirt and grime, helping you to keep the windscreen clear all seasons.
  • Long lasting protection - Unlike other aftermarket solutions, hydrophobic glass penetrates the surface of the glass making it very durable, frequency of reapplication will be dependent on the climate but lasts up to 2 years after careful application. Dry and dusty conditions create added abrasion, which will cut down the time glass coating is effective.
  • Long lasting - Almost any type of glass can be converted to hydrophobic glass and a simple regeneration kit can restore hydrophobic glass to full strength even after a few years of hard use.

The protective surface of hydrophobic glass actually changes the shape of water droplets on the windscreen itself. Because the water has less contact with the glass, the droplets become rounder, making it easier for the windscreen wipers or wind to remove them. That prevents smearing and increases visibility even more.

Durability and lifespan

Hydrophobic coatings in the marine industry are not used as extensively as in the automotive industry, the exception being on fresh water yachts and small craft.

Because Marine craft are constantly exposed to salt water, which leave deposits on the windscreen, they need to be hosed down frequently. The good news is that with a bit of hosing, the windscreens clean up rapidly, as the minerals slide off easily. The bad news is that this added cleaning also gradually removes the coating, so it just needs to be re-applied more often.

Scientific progress is being made within this industry to perfect the application of the coating to improve the durability and lifespan of an application.

Balconano Self-Cleaning kit

Water sheeting

A hydrophilic coating is one that attracts water and works with it preventing fogging and providing optical clarity. The coatings reduce distortion by interacting positively with water, causing condensates to spread uniformly over the surface of the coated glass, sheeting water rather than forming droplets that scatter light.

Some companies are currently working on the perfection of water repellent hydrophobic coating as an organic film that will not degrade or delaminate over time, virtually lasting forever. Additionally, these rugged coatings comply with Military Standards. The hydrophobic coating can be provided in either a coated or laminated process. Ideal for touch screens, the coatings provide a barrier against dirt, dust, and a host of aqueous solutions.

Super Hydrophobic Coatings - Future Developments

Super Hydrophobic Coating: Ways to Turn Surfaces Super-Hydrophobic with Coatings

By super Hydrophobic is meant that the contact angle of water on this surface is between 150-180 degrees. 180 degrees means that there is virtually NO contact between the glass and the water.

Recently there has been great interest in the development of super-hydrophobicity for a wide variety of surfaces. Inspired by the “lotus-leaf effect”, many techniques have been developed to create super-hydrophobic surfaces. The aim of scientists working on this development have been to create a coating with a surface morphology that mimics that of the lotus-leaf (which is known for repelling water). These applications are currently in their experimental stages.

There has been limited success with this type of coating and to date no durable coating of this sort has been developed. A breakthrough in this field will have a profound impact on society and tremendous eco-friendly applications. To date only durable hydrophobic coatings have been developed.

Note: The Lotus Leaf Effect is a micro structured, self-cleaning surface where dirt is naturally carried off by rainwater.

hydrophobic glass coating

Lotus Leaf repelling water

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