The end of steamy windows?

12.00 | 7 March 2013 | | 5 comments

Peering through a steamy windscreen as the rain pours down could become a thing of the past thanks to a material developed by American scientists (Telegraph).

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a coating which, when placed on the inside of the windscreen, will stop it steaming up.

It will also mean that drivers do not have to wait for the car’s rear window to clear before they can see what is behind them.

Until now, windscreen coatings have been unable to prevent the condensation building up because water droplets spread on impact with the glass and form a layer of frost in cold weather.

But on what is known as a ‘zwitter wettable’ coating, the water molecules are absorbed into the surface. According to the Telegraph, this means they effectively disappear before they can cause fogging or, in cold weather, freeze.

This is thanks to a technique known as hydrogen bonding, which will hold together the thin film of absorbent polymers on the windscreen.

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    A few years ago I bought a motorcycle crash helmet with a “revolutionary” anti-fog treatment visor. It worked for about a month, before it became just as prone to fogging as any other visor I’d had. Sorry for the pun but…I’m not holding my breath on this one.

    Martin, Suffolk
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    Potentially a real winner of an idea – my car has aircon, but in common with many systems it does not function below 5c. I’d welcome this as an option (or even standard fitment) if I were buying a new vehicle.

    David, Suffolk.
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    I would use that product if it was to become available over here providing that it does not cause damage to anything else. Not all cars have got heated rear windows nor do all of them have air conditioning.

    Phil, Kent
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    Automotive air-conditioning, which clears condensation in seconds and subsequently prevents it forming, has been around since the 1950s – developed originally in America. This new idea is obviously technically clever, but for the Telegraph to say steamy windows are ‘a thing of the past’ makes it look as if the staff on the paper are still driving round in cars of the 1960s and 70s.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Sounds like a great idea – hope its not too expensive to integrate into manufacturing vehicles or is even available post-production.

    Dr James Whalen DSA ADI (car), Wolverhampton
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