Do you ever get annoyed by your glasses fogging up in cold weather, or while looking through a microscope? Now Kimberly-Clark has just the solution, which – surprise – uses graphene.
Kimberly-Clark, the global health product manufacturer, has received a patent for an anti-fogging coating for glasses, which might use graphene as one of its components. US Patent Number 8398234 describes a transparent coating for optical lenses which also conducts electricity. Running a current through the coating heats the surface of the glass enough to prevent condensation.
The anti-fog coating is a mixture of elements, consisting of a conductive polymer, carbon nanostructures, and possibly a transition metal to link the polymer with the carbon nanostructures. The nanostructures are included to improve the electrical conductivity of the already conducting polymer.
Graphene would, once again, feature in the form of nanoplatelets. The carbon nanostructures are not limited to graphene, but could also include carbon nanotubes or fullerenes (buckyballs). In addition, a 12V battery needs to be attached to the glasses, which at the moment seems like it might look a little awkward. However, as we are certainly on a path towards ultrathin flexible batteries, within a few years the battery could be printed onto the frame of the glasses.
What worries me about this patent is that the increase in temperature is only about 3-5 degrees, which is not going to be enough in many climates. However, the patent was filed two years ago, and it could very well be that Kimberly-Clark has already found a solution to this problem.
It is interesting to note the similarity between this patent and the application by SAAB for an airplane de-icing coating, based on the same principle.