clhs sciblog

Musings on current happenings in science from our little slice of the world.

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No More Windshield Wipers?

February 21st, 2011 by dullbj · No Comments · Chemistry

Wouldn’t it be great if water just glided off our windshields while we cruise down  the highway in the rain?  Heavy rains can really have an effect on a driver.  Anyone that has driven in heavy rains would admit to that.  Graphene is a hot new material, and it is being used to make water roll right off of a film or spread so thin it is barely noticed.  Graphene is composed of rings of carbon atoms.  It is a very, very thin material, said to be stronger than steel, and a great conductor of electricity.  One way graphene is made is by rubbing graphite against a hard surface.  James Dickerson of Vanderbilt is aiming to make a film with this graphene spread water out even more, or cause it to run off.  Read the full article here.

A substance improving the flow of water is not life changing, and it certainly won’t make us jump out of our seats.  However, it is another application of chemistry that could improve the world around us.  It would be convenient to no longer need windshield wipers because we had a film on our windows that would cause any amount of water to spread out and run off the windshield.  This film could also be applied in pipes to improve the flow of water, rather than small drops sticking to the pipe.  Water is a precious resource, or sometimes an annoyance.  This shows that we can at times control it.  We already have heard of one application of graphite: it’s used in making synthetic diamonds; and now graphene, produced from graphite, could prevent drops of water from sticking on our windows.

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