Cleaning the conservatory windows used to be a massive chore. Along with the danger of climbing a ladder to reach the higher windows, sponges and soap water can often leave unsightly marks, and the result is rarely ever perfect. Now, thanks to the revolutionary invention of self cleaning glass, you can have perfectly clean windows every time, and without a bucket of soapy water in sight.
So how does self cleaning glass work? Effectively, self cleaning glass works through two stages to attain a perfect, smear-free appearance. The first stage utilises sunlight to break down dirt and other organic materials. This stage is referred to as photo-catalysis: the action of ultraviolet light as a tool to erode and weaken the dirt on the glass. Once the dirt is sufficiently weakened, the second stage comes into operation. This second stage requires rainfall to hit the glass to slough off the loosened material and leave the glass free of dirt. One of the greatest benefits of self cleaning glass is how quickly rain marks disappear from the glass. When rain hits self cleaning glass, there are no lingering droplets or unsightly rivulets, it becomes almost immediately clean and completely clear. This is all thanks to the science underlying this revolutionary technology.
The science in question is a thin chemical coating on the glass that works to keep the glass clean. This coating is called titanium dioxide, which is an inorganic pigment applied to the glass at a thickness of 25 nanometres: a layer so thin that it is transparent to the human eye. This titanium dioxide layer absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet rays to begin a process known as oxidation, which is the process responsible for the loosening of the dirt and organic materials on the glass. Once this process has completed, the second use of the titanium dioxide layer comes into play.