Silica-based spray has multitude of important uses for homes, hospitals and businesses
A new spray-on glass is being hailed as one of the most important, environmentally-friendly products to emerge from the field of nanotechnology.
The non-toxic spray protects almost any surface against dirt and bacteria, whether it is hospital equipment or household surfaces.
The spray is based on silica and, when mixed with water or alcohol and sprayed on any surface, it creates a film hundreds of times thinner than a human hair.
The invisible barrier repels water, dirt and bacteria and is resistant to heat, acids and UV light, and remains ?breathable?.
Family-owned German company called Nanopool holds patent rights on the technology behind the liquid glass, which emerged from research at the Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken. Nanopool is already talking to British firms and the NHS about using the product for a diverse range of applications, from coating designer handbags to spraying the nose cones of high-speed trains.
An NHS hospital in Southport, Lancashire, has just completed a year-long trial where a variety of surfaces were coated with liquid glass to test its ability to resist dirt and microbial growth. The results of the trial are expected to be published next month.
Similar tests by food-processing firms in Germany have shown that sterile surfaces treated with liquid glass are just as clean and free of microbial contamination after being washed in hot water as untreated surfaces washed in the usual way with strong bleach, and the effect continued for many months.
The liquid glass is composed of almost pure silicon dioxide, the chemical constituent of quartz or silica, the most abundant mineral in the Earth?s crust. It is quite inert and has no known harmful impact on the environment.
The "easy-clean" properties of the liquid glass could lead to drastic cuts in the amount of potentially toxic cleaning agents used in factories, offices, schools, hospitals and the home.
Added the 03 February 2010 in category Innovation News