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Title: Atomically Bonded Transparent Superhydrophobic Coatings

Maintaining clarity and avoiding the accumulation of water and dirt on optically transparent surfaces such as US military vehicle windshields, viewports, periscope optical head windows, and electronic equipment cover glasses are critical to providing a high level of visibility, improved survivability, and much-needed safety for warfighters in the field. Through a combination of physical vapor deposition techniques and the exploitation of metastable phase separation in low-alkali borosilicate, a novel technology was developed for the fabrication of optically transparent, porous nanostructured silica thin film coatings that are strongly bonded to glass platforms. The nanotextured films, initially structurally superhydrophilic, exhibit superior superhydrophobicity, hence antisoiling ability, following a simple but robust modification in surface chemistry. The surfaces yield water droplet contact angles as high as 172°. Moreover, the nanostructured nature of these coatings provides increased light scattering in the UV regime and reduced reflectivity (i.e., enhanced transmission) over a broad range of the visible spectrum. In addition to these functionalities, the coatings exhibit superior mechanical resistance to abrasion and are thermally stable to temperatures approaching 500°C. The overall process technology relies on industry standard equipment and inherently scalable manufacturing processes and demands only nontoxic, naturally abundant, and inexpensive base materials. Such coatings, appliedmore » to the optical components of current and future combat equipment and military vehicles will provide a significant strategic advantage for warfighters. The inherent self-cleaning properties of such superhydrophobic coatings will also mitigate biofouling of optical windows exposed to high-humidity conditions and can help decrease repair/replacement costs, reduce maintenance, and increase readiness by limiting equipment downtime.« less
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
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Country of Publication:
United States