Nano, nano on the wall..
August 30, 2009 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Do nanotech steam-proof mirrors exist?

I can buy an anti-bacterial chopping board, which apparently contains a substance that permanently kills bateria.

Can I buy a bathroom mirror that doesn't steam up?

I know I can rub shaving foam on it regularly, or get a heated mirror, etc. etc., but I'm looking at a more permanent solution. Does a nanotech coated fog-proof bathroom mirror exist yet?
posted by devnull to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:18 AM on August 30, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks. I'm looking for a general purpose mirror that doesn't use batteries (not a shaving mirror for the shower).
posted by devnull at 6:36 AM on August 30, 2009

I don't think most of those use batteries (except the lighted ones). I have one and mine doesn't use batteries. Oddly, I can't seem to find a bigger version, either, which is odd. My guess is that since the optical quality isn't as good on these mirrors as on large bathroom mirrors, the same concept wouldn't sell as an over-the-sink mirror.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:51 AM on August 30, 2009

I'd be surprised if a nanotech solution existed which was cost effective to apply on this large of a scale. There are "nano-sponge" types of coatings but I haven't seen them in commercial use - I'm not sure they would stand up to bathroom use.

I have seen the heated solution work quite effectively - I suspect the simplicity and effectiveness will keep a structural alternative which modifies or coats the glass out of the market.

You might also find a better "semi-permanent" chemical solution from the automotive world (Rainx, etc.). These coatings last a longer time than shaving cream and I suspect would help with the fogging issues...
posted by NoDef at 7:18 AM on August 30, 2009

The only nano-tech references I've seen regarding fogless glas is research about using sheets of carbon nanotube. It's effectively making a heated glass that doesn't need wire electrodes to heat it, but it would still need a battery.

I can't find any references to this tech after 2006, so perhaps they could not make it economically viable. This is the kind of tech I would expect to see first in something like a Mercedes S-class, then to eventually trickle down to a $50 bathroom mirror.
posted by smackfu at 7:43 AM on August 30, 2009

Seconding the existing coatings/sprays.

Also, a bathroom fan? Depending on your bathroom geometry, it can do amazing wonders.
posted by DU at 9:33 AM on August 30, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments so far.

@DU: Can you recommend a decent bathroom fan that is also quiet? I think Panasonic make some.
posted by devnull at 9:47 AM on August 30, 2009

Yeah, quiet is a whole nother issue. Mine is terrible, although to be fair part of that is coincidental harmonic vibration, not fan sound per se. I read a review of a superquiet fan and I'm trying to think where. Possibly Consumer Reports? If it was CR, it was at least a year ago, so it should be in their index thing. The library probably has a copy. (Kind of a goose chase there.)

Another idea, if you are hell-bent on getting it right but not spending $$$, is to use an ultraquiet computer fan...
posted by DU at 10:33 AM on August 30, 2009

Yes, Panasonic bathroom fans are pretty quiet, though I've learned that the ductwork can make a difference. I'm sure some of it has to do with the harmonics of the tube, but in my case, I think the fact that I used a flexible aluminum duct instead of something more rigid and smooth also has something to do with it.
posted by Good Brain at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2009

A squeegee will quickly remove moisture from a mirror but the moisture that also covers the walls and ceiling is not so easily dealt with. Since this moisture will degrade plaster and support mold I think it is the bigger problem. Both problems can be solved with better ventilation. I use a Panasonic fan that is relatively high flow and relatively low noise. The mirror stays dry. Fans that use squirrel cage blades are quieter than those that use axial blades. Flexible ducting impedes the flow of air so a stronger, noisier fan is needed to get the same flow as with smooth ducting. The turbulence of the air in flexible ducting may also contribute noise. Leaving the bathroom door open improves air flow. A stop can be used to create a partially open door. The door should at least have a gap between it and the flooring so as to provide a good inlet for the air the fan is working to exhaust.
posted by llc at 2:19 PM on August 30, 2009

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