Monday, February 1, 2010

Nanotechnology in the everyday household?

I'm intrigued to read about a nanotechnology product known as 'Liquid Glass'. The Daily Mail mentioned it in a news report, but I wanted to know more, so I went to the Web site of the distributor, a German company named Nanopool. Here's what they have to say about it.

“SiO2- ultra thin layering” is the technical term for Liquid Glass. Apart from a select group of professionals, few people in the UK know about this stunning technology. If you walk around Ataturk’s Mausoleum in Ankara you are walking on it; if you visit certain hospitals in the UK you are touching it. If you see an unusually clean train you are probably looking at it, and if you wonder how your white settee looks so clean, you may be sitting on it. All of these surfaces have been coated with invisible glass.

The flexible and breathable glass coating is approximately 100 nanometres thick (500 times thinner than a human hair), and so it is completely undetectable. It is food safe, environmentally friendly (winner of the Green Apple Award) and it can be applied to almost any surface within seconds . When coated, all surfaces become easy to clean and anti- microbially protected (Winner of the NHS Smart Solutions Award ). Houses, cars, ovens, wedding dress or any other protected surface become stain resistant and can be easily cleaned with water ; no cleaning chemicals are required. Amazingly a 30 second DIY application to a sink unit will last for a year or years, depending on how often it is used. But it does not stop there - the coatings are now also recognised as being suitable for agricultural and in-vivo application. Vines coated with SiO2 don’t suffer from mildew, and coated seeds grow more rapidly without the need for anti-fungal chemicals. This will result in farmers in enjoying massively increased yields . Trials for in-vivo applications are subject to a degree of secrecy, but Neil McClelland, the UK Project Manager for Nanopool GmbH, describes the results as 'stunning'. “Items such as stents can be coated, and this will create anti sticking features - catheters , and sutures which are a source of infection, will also cease to be problematic.”

When asked about how the technology works, Neil, said “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. Unfortunately, as they say in the movies , if I told you any more …..”. Neil comments further, “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. We are happy to hear about any other technology which offers the same range of applications. Very soon almost every product that you purchase will be protected with some form of easy -to -clean coating. It just so happens that we offer something that everyone finds fascinating . The concept of spray -on glass is just mind -boggling”.

This technology is now available for domestic use in Germany. Full scale retail availability in the UK will commence in early 2010.

There's more at the link.

This looks really interesting! I can see all kinds of useful applications. For example, the Daily Mail article mentioned that if a silk shirt is treated with this stuff, even red wine will roll right off it, leaving no stain. The saving on laundry bills alone should be mind-boggling!

I look forward to reading more about Liquid Glass, and seeing the first retail uses of the product.



Anonymous said...

If it works... it might cut the dry-cleaning business to ribbons.

Just think, with all that solvent out of use we can go back to using paint strippers which actually work, and probably still emit fewer total VOCs.


Anonymous said...

SiO2 is Silicon Dioxide (, which in turn can be made into Silicone [note the added "e"] ( which is an amazing blessing as noted in the article and a horrible curse which I see is carefully not mentioned!

My guess is that the article is talking about liquid silicone. It's a blessing as in spraying on a wall to make it stain-proof and easy to clean up. But a curse as one can never paint over that wall again, not without major sanding down the wall or replacing the drywall completely. Very few things (I would say nothing) can stick to silicone.

Be very very careful where and how you apply the stuff!

BTW, this is not nanotechnology. Just basic chemistry!

bruce said...

sounds wonderful, I need a thousand shares of its stock.

also makes me remember ICE NINE

Anonymous said...


B Woodman

Jenny said...

tip of the iceberg

he even talks about the nano-pants. :)

Julie said...

wow - interesting ....

Unknown said...

Hrmmph. Be ware of any company that touts it's products as nanotechnology. 99% of the time, it's a scam, or slick marketing trying to make some pre-existing product seem new and amazingly unusual.

Like those aluminum nanotech batteries (search google), the credulous pop-sci magazines just eat this stuff up. The batteries promised 10x the storage of lithium batteries: except for the minor detail that, 5 years later, they haven't actually got funding to produce them.

Compare Lifewave patches, EeFuel, and all the homeopathic woo.

This product sounds suspiciously similar to Rain-X, which, though a long-chain organic molecule, forms itself into more-or-less mono-molecular layers on your car windshield? Is it nanotechnology? Maybe. Chnage the world ... not so much.