Gravity and electricity could soon be the answer to instant window defrosting!

New technology uses high pulses of electricity to defrost windows in less than a second.

The daily work of clearing the defrosting on windows by applying solutions or rubbing alcohol on windows can be quite tasking. Thanks to this new technology, defrosting windows in an instant could soon become a reality. An international team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Japan’s Kyushu University have developed a new way of removing the frost on surfaces which is far superior to the traditional methods. The team demonstrated their technology by defrosting a piece of glass cooled to temperatures of -159.8 degrees Fahrenheit in less than a second.

The new system developed by the team utilizes a pulse of high current which creates a thin layer of water between the frost and water. In order to make sure that the pulse hits the right spot, the researchers applied a thin coating of conductive film indium tin oxide (ITO). Indium tin oxide (ITO) is a composition of indium, tin, and oxygen in varying proportions is the most widely used transparent conducting oxides because of its two main properties- electrical conductivity and optical transparency. Gravity is then allowed to do the rest of the work by sliding it away and can be aided by airflow if necessary.

The huge energy efficiency losses of building energy systems and refrigeration systems due to the need to do intermittent defrosting inspired the creation of this technology. “The systems must be shut down, the working fluid is heated up, then it needs to be cooled down again. This eats up a lot of energy when you think of the yearly operational costs of running intermittent defrosting cycles,” UIUC researcher Nenad Miljkovic said in a statement. The team has achieved an impressive feat by reducing the energy need to less than 1% and in 0.01 of the traditional defrosting planes.

The technology is still at a ‘proof-of-concept stage’ but if it successfully hits the market, its application can be used anything from ranging to a car to even airplanes or huge buildings. However, these researchers aren’t the only one focusing on that goal. In ETH Zurich, Switzerland, scientists have found a way to capture sunlight and use it for defrosting rapidly through the use of a solar-activated nanoscale-thick coating. Whichever technology enters into the market first, will gain a significant portion of this valuable market.


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