As our attention begins to turn to the rough winter months ahead, a team of researchers at Rice University is working on ways to solve the problem of ice-covered windows.
The team has developed a technology that uses a film made from graphene nanoribbons (pure carbon that’s one atom thick) covered with a thin layer of polyurethane to melt ice from windows. The film can be painted on any glass or plastic surface and conducts both heat and electricity. When voltage is applied, the film acts as a deicer while remaining transparent. It can even melt ice within minutes in a -4°F environment.
The research, published in Applied Materials and Interfaces, describes another key feature of the newly developed deicing film: radio frequency compatibility. While the film is transparent to the human eye, it’s also small enough (50 to 200 nanometers thick) to allow radio frequencies to pass through unimpeded. From windshields to commercial building windows, the technology could be useful to help diminish the harmful effects of ice without compromising access to cell phone and Wi-Fi signals.
Photo and information courtesy of buildings.com