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The Future Of Auto Glass – Wiperless Windshields

Post Time:Mar 26,2013Classify:Industry NewsView:484

China Glass Network

You’re driving down the road and a big rain storm is approaching. The first drops of water hit your windshield, bead up and slide to the sides, leaving your view completely unobstructed. As you’re driving behind a truck, it kicks up a big spray of mud onto your windshield. In a few seconds, the mud is also pushed to the side, and you can see just fine.

 

Does that sound like science fiction to you? It’s not – the Auto Glass industry is advancing rapidly. In fact, there are windshields now that, using nanotechnology, can do all of the things described above. Unfortunately, they’re not quite ready for mainstream use, but they certainly exist and will hopefully be on high-end cars within the next few years.

 

Nanotechnology

 

China Glass NetworkWiperless windshields were first shown in 2008 at the Geneva Car Show on the Fioravanti Hidra. Through a combination of aerodynamics and nanotechnology, they are able to clear your windshield of almost any liquid or debris.

The nanotechnology involves 4 layers on the windshield itself. The first layer keeps harmful UV rays out and, more importantly, is hydrophobic. This means that water beads up and runs off of the surface without leaving any trace. This is the same effect you see on lotus leaves in nature.

 

The second layer is made of “nano dust,” which is used to push dirt and other debris to the sides of the windshield. This clears away anything that would obstruct your driving view. The third layer is the receptor that tells the “dirt clearing” layer when to get to work. It senses anytime there is dirt on the windshield and activates the dirt layer.

 

The final layer ties everything together. It’s an electrically conductive material that, when electricity is applied, powers all of the layers of the windshield. These 4 layers work in tandem to keep your windshield clean under any circumstances and any weather conditions. Unfortunately, this is not available commercially quite yet. While the technology is extremely viable and performs admirably, it’s not ready for mass production quite yet. Back in 2008, when it was first unveiled, the idea was to have these in production by 2013, so hopefully we’ll see them appear soon.

 

Graphene

There has also been talk by auto glass professionals of applying a layer of graphene to windshields to repel water. Graphene is an extremely thin layer of carbon arranged in a hexagonal pattern. In fact, a layer of graphene is only one atom thick! Researchers at Vanderbilt University were able to apply a layer of graphene to a smooth surface, like glass. It displayed extremely hydrophobic properties in much the same way as the wiperless windshield above. The benefit of this would be that graphene is relatively cheap to produce. Unfortunately, this is still in the research phase and no prototypes have actually been made as of yet.

 

Regardless of the direction that technology takes us, it looks like wiperless windshields are the way of the future. While it will likely be limited to high-end cars at first, there may be a nearby day when the technology is the norm. So don’t be surprised when you go to buy your next car and you can’t find any windshield wipers. They may not be necessary.

Source: http://www.glassbytes.com/fetch.php?url=http://wwwAuthor: shangyi

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