Engineers have developed a new, invisible, non-toxic spray dubbed "liquid glass" that can protect any surface from water, dirt, bacteria, heat and ultraviolet radiation.
The patent for the spray, which is harmless to the environment, is owned by German firm Nanopool. The company is in discussions with several manufacturers to use the spray in everything from cleaning products, high-speed trains, luxury hotels, designer clothing and restaurants.
The spray, made from a compound of almost entirely silicon dioxide, forms a coating just 100 nanometers thick -- that's 500 times thinner than a human hair.
The products viability comes from the fact that it can be sold in a solution of either alcohol or water, depending on the surface application. Once applied, the spray is flexible and breathable, Nanopool says.
The company also says it's food safe, and can be used to make things stain resistant -- yes, just wipe clean with water -- in as diverse of products as houses, cars, ovens, wedding dresses and sinks.
"In essence, we extract molecules of SiO2 -- the primary constituent of glass -- from quartz sand, and then we add the molecules to water or ethanol," said Nanopool UK project manager Neil McClelland in prepared remarks. "The really clever part is that there are no added nano-particles , resins or additives- the coatings form and bond due to quantum forces. Our research informs us that in all probability, we offer the most versatile coating in the world."
"The concept of spray-on glass is just mind-boggling."
Nanopool says that vines coated with the chemical "don’t suffer from mildew, and coated seeds grow more rapidly without the need for anti-fungal chemicals," increasing farmers' yields.
The coating can be used medically to coat stents, catheters and sutures to prevent infection, the company says.
The Schwalbach-based company is soliciting interest for the product, which is available now in Germany, and says it will soon bring it to the U.K.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com