keep automotive glass clear in harsh weather to sporting equipment that promises enhanced performance. “You can take advantage of the unique properties that occur at those sizes and the development of products using these properties,” says
Scott Livingston, a nanotechnology expert with Axiom Capital Management in New York City.
According to the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, the worldwide market of products incorporating nanotechnology generated about $120 billion in 2005. The Foundation estimates that the market will reach about $180 billion in 2007 (about $70 billion in the U.S.), and it is estimated to increase to $1 trillion worldwide by 2015. Foundation experts say that nanotechnology has the potential to become a defining technology of the 21st century, driving economic growth and providing significant benefits to manufacturing, human health, energy conservation, and the environment.
Vincent R. Valles Sr., owner of Dur-A-Shield International and EverClean Technologies Inc. in Palm Coast, Florida, has joined the nanotech revolution. Valles’ company uses nanotechnology in its EverClean Solution, a product that makes windows self-cleaning. Because Valles’ other company, Dur-A-Shield, also works with coatings–to roofs and other surfaces using a tough polymer shield that protects against biological growth–he was contacted by the inventor of the self-cleaning window product who lived in Japan. “It just seemed to be a natural evolution out of that,” says Valles, 73.
It took 18 months from the time he was approached to get the product on the market. He cashed in stocks and invested about $50,000 for research and development and to bring the product in from Japan; about $5,000 for the cost of the delivery system; and about $12,000 to $15,000 for marketing. The product contains titanium dioxide and peroxotitanic oxidizing agents, which create a microcrystalline coating. The titanium dioxide absorbs sunlight and acts as a catalyst to decompose organic matter. The peroxotitanic acid speeds up the breakdown of organic matter and the coating reduces surface tension, allowing rain or the quick spray of a hose to wash dirt away.
EverClean applies the product in a three-step process. In the first step, the company has a professional window cleaner clean the interior and exterior windows of a house. Second, the windows are pretreated with alcohol and distilled water to remove any film that may be on the surface. In the final step, one coat of the product is applied with a high-volume, low-pressure sprayer–similar to those used in silk screening–that will last up to 10 years. The coating is extremely fine (100 nanometers or less in thickness) and transparent.
The only maintenance required is to rinse the exterior of the window with water from a garden hose every 60 to 90 days. But even rain will keep the windows clean, and they will dry spotless. “We are using the same technology employed by the major window manufacturers who apply the self-cleaning coating during the window production process,” says Valles. “The only difference is that our product is now available as an aftermarket spray application.” In fact, EverClean is the first company to introduce