Soon, self-cleaning, wiper-free car windshields thanks to grapheme

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WASHINGTON - Research from Vanderbilt University has found how graphene can be used to create windshields that shed water so effectively that they don’t need wipers.

James Dickerson and his colleagues have figured out how to create a freestanding film of graphene oxide and alter its surface roughness so that it either causes water to bead up and run off or causes it to spread out in a thin layer.

“Graphene films are transparent and, because they are made of carbon, they are very inexpensive to make. The technique that we use can be rapidly scaled up to produce it in commercial quantities,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson and his team created graphene using electrophoretic deposition. The “wet” technique combines an electric field within a liquid medium to create nanoparticle films that can be transferred to another surface.

The team found that it could change the manner in which the graphene oxide particles assemble into a film by varying the pH of the liquid medium and the electric voltage used in the process.

One pair of settings lay down the particles in a “rug” arrangement that creates a nearly atomically smooth surface - it causes water to spread out in a thin layer, while the brick surface causes water to bead up and run off.

The find could lead to self-cleaning glasses and clothes to antifogging surfaces to corrosion protection and snow-load protection on buildings.

The study is published online by the journal ACSNano on Nov. 26. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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