USDA researchers are using beef and wheat proteins to assist in the development of a nanoparticle-based clear coating that helps keep rainwater from beading and reducing visibility on windows and other surfaces.
The coating, created by chemist Sanghoon Kim and colleagues, was produced through simple procedures with inexpensive chemicals, and doesn't require specialized equipment or costly heating, a USDA report said.
From start to finish, production of the nanoparticles takes less than an hour.
In a proof-of-concept experiment, the researchers used bovine serum albumin, which is a cattle industry byproduct, as the protein, and ethyl cyanoacrylate, a major component of "super glue," as the starting material that is key to creating the nanoparticles.
In a follow-up study, Kim and his colleague Yeon Seok Kim of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, used gliadin, a protein from wheat, to demonstrate that their process for making the coating is applicable to both plant- and animal-derived proteins.
Applying the coating is quick – all that's needed is to spray it onto clean glass or other recommended surfaces, then rinse with water.
Besides its obvious application for windshields and windows, it could also be used on solar panels to keep dirt from interfering with their performance, Kim says.
Informal cost estimates suggest that the new coating, made with either a plant or an animal protein, could be produced at the same or less cost than coatings already on the market.
ARS is seeking a patent for the research; the scientists are looking for industry partners to commercialize it.
Source: USDA ARS