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Open AccessArticle

Sol-Gel Coatings for Subaquatic Self-Cleaning Windows

Bio-Interface Group, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8LT, UK
Optoelectronics Group, FMC Technologies Inc, Strathclyde Business Park, Lanarkshire ML4 3PE, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Crystals 2020, 10(5), 375;
Received: 30 March 2020 / Revised: 29 April 2020 / Accepted: 1 May 2020 / Published: 7 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sol-Gel Method Applied to Crystalline Materials)
Self-cleaning windows are well known for their ability to function with airborne pollutants, but there is a growing industry for semi-permanent subaquatic optical devices, where the performance of such windows should be considered. Here sol-gel technology is explored as a means of producing self-cleaning, subaquatic, sapphire windows. We demonstrate removal of marine bacteria and, in the worst-case contamination scenario, dead North Sea crude oil (API 35). This greasy contaminant was smeared across the windows to effectively reduce optical transmission strength to just 54%. The titania-based sol-gel-coated windows can restore transmission to within 10% of the clean value in less than one day, unlike standard sapphire windows, which lose 68% transmission following contamination and aquatic submergence over the same duration. A range of theories to enhance the self-cleaning performance of the sol-gel coating were explored, but none of the tested variables were able to provide any enhancement for subaquatic performance. View Full-Text
Keywords: sol-gel; oleophobic; submarine; self-cleaning; photocatalytic sol-gel; oleophobic; submarine; self-cleaning; photocatalytic
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MDPI and ACS Style

Greer, A.I.M.; Moodie, D.; Kerr, G.; Gadegaard, N. Sol-Gel Coatings for Subaquatic Self-Cleaning Windows. Crystals 2020, 10, 375.

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