S'pore scientists come up with coating that makes surfaces clear by attracting water

SINGAPORE - Scientists here have gone against popular logic to invent a permanent ceramic coating that keeps reflective surfaces clear by attracting - and not repelling - water droplets.

This CleanClear coating was invented by scientists from the A*star's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, which issued a media release on Thursday.

Explaining the science behind it, the institute said fogged-up windows usually have water-resistant coatings that prevent droplets from sticking to the glass. The common method of wiping the wet surface also does not usually clear up the glass but creates smaller water spots.

But with the patented technology behind CleanClear, water is collected to form a thin, uniform and transparent layer for users to have a clearer view. The new coating allows for self-cleaning during rain.

Another benefit of CleanClear is its durability. Most current coatings degrade with use, but CleanClear needs to be applied only once.

Dr Gregory Goh, who led the research last year, said: "Conventional technologies mainly use organic-based materials and some with nanoparticles but these don't last long, and need to be re-coated from time to time. The CleanClear process makes the coating part of the surface - permanently."

The new technology can be used on car windshields, mirrors and motorcycle visors, allowing for better visibility in the rain. Its versatility may make it more affordable for public use. The institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) is in talks with companies to further develop and license the technology.