Monday, February 1, 2010

Kickstarter Monday: Liquid Glass, a Spray-on Miracle

Wow. This "liquid glass" sounds like one of the most amazing - and useful - scientific inventions ever!
It sounds too good to be true: a non-toxic spray invisible to the human eye that protects almost any surface against dirt and bacteria, whether it is hospital equipment and medical bandages or ancient stone monuments and expensive fabrics. But true it is. The spray is a form of "liquid glass" and is harmless to living things and the wider environment. It is being touted as one of the most important, environmentally-friendly products to emerge from the field of nanotechnology, which deals in objects at the molecular end of the size scale.

These are some of the possible - and actual - uses for the stuff:
Nano invention: Macro possibilities


Wood treated with liquid glass was found to be resistant to termite attacks in tropical climates. This led to tests on vines showing that treated plants are more resistant to a fungus that attacks the grapes. Seeds coated with liquid glass are less likely to be be attacked by fungal spores and germinate and grow faster than untreated seeds, probably because they do not waste energy fending off the microbes. Wine corks treated with liquid glass may also be protected against "corking", when contaminants in the cork taint the flavour of the wine.

Stone monuments

Stone surfaces coated with liquid glass are protected against the weather and easier to clean, especially if grafittied. For 18 months, scientists in Turkey have been running trials on the Ataturk Mausoleum in Ankara and a 15th-Century mosque. They report continued water protection and no discolouration. Talks are taking place about the possible use of liquid glass in Britain to protect memorials and war graves.

Domestic bathrooms

Millions of homes use cleaning agents and bleach. Tests by food processing companies in Germany have shown that sterile surfaces treated with the liquid glass can be cleaned with plain hot water and have levels of sterility seen on surfaces washed in bleach.

Its uses in the fashion industry

The liquid glass produces a highly flexible, invisible barrier to liquids and dirt. It cannot be seen by the naked eye and yet it allows fabrics to "breathe", according to its manufacturers. Expensive fabrics could be treated to make them stain resistant and at least one maker of upmarket handbags and coats is understood to be conducting negotiations about treating its products before they leave the factory.

blog comments powered by Disqus