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Open AccessArticle

Sol-Gel Coatings for Subaquatic Self-Cleaning Windows

1
Bio-Interface Group, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8LT, UK
2
Optoelectronics Group, FMC Technologies Inc, Strathclyde Business Park, Lanarkshire ML4 3PE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Crystals 2020, 10(5), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10050375
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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