Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

02/04/2010 (7:27 am)

Better Than Transparent Aluminum


I’ve been a bit heavy lately, so here’s something positive.

Trekkies recall Chief Engineer Scott altering history by revealing the formula for transparent aluminum to a 20th-century engineer. But real, modern innovation has produced something even better for certain applications: spray-on glass, about 30 molecules thick. That’s 1/500 of the thickness of a human hair, according to the UK Telegraph.

No, you can’t build a whale aquarium in a Klingon starship with it. But it promises to revolutionize institutional sterilization and other cleaning-related applications.

You see, when glass is that thin, it’s flexible, and it breathes, but it still retains the slickness and water resistance of glass. Also, bacteria don’t grow on it; according to the manufacturer, microbes have difficulty dividing on the surface. So, you can spray it onto a food preparation surface — butcher block or hard metal — and you have a surface that remains bacteria-free. Tests have shown that such a surface with this nano-thin, glass coating is more sanitary after merely being flushed with hot water than a comparable, non-treated surface that’s been scrubbed with bleach. And since it breathes, it can be sprayed on seeds or growing plants, making them resistant to mildew and fungus; it’s been tested in vineyards.

It’s stable and non-toxic, being made out of almost pure silicon dioxide — quartz sand. A little water or alcohol gets added as a carrier, so it can be sprayed on. Quantum forces cause the nano-glass to adhere to whatever it’s sprayed on, so you only have to treat surfaces once a year.

Applications abound. Bathroom surfaces. Kitchen surfaces. Medical equipment. Catheters, bandages, and medical implants. Construction materials; termites won’t eat wood treated with this stuff. Seeds. Cutting boards. Monuments; a thin coat slows down natural weathering. Even clothing; since glass is flexible at this thickness, you can treat a silk blouse, and then pour wine over it, and the wine will wipe right off.

The product was invented in Turkey, but a privately-owned German company named Nanopool holds the patent. We can expect these folks to get rich, as it’s clear that you’ll soon be seeing… er, not seeing… this product everywhere.

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