Anti-fog Coating:The Ultimate Guide to Solve Your Fogging Problem on Plastic Product
If you’re tired of fogging lenses or surfaces, then you should try anti-fog coating.
It is an eco-friendly, reliable and permanent coating that eliminates any possibility of surfaces fogging, irrespective of the temperature and humidity fluctuations.
Honestly, it is a sure way to solving the fogging problem on surfaces.
In today’s guide, I am going to explore everything you need to know about anti-fog coating. This will include main materials, working principle, benefits, applications and possible FAQs about this product.
So, read on and learn more!
What is anti-fog Coating?
Essentially, anti-fog coating refers to chemical compounds that are indispensable in preventing condensation of water from forming small droplets on the surface of the plastic material.
Anti-fog coating is also referred to as non-mist coatings. Some sources also refer to it as anti-fogging agents and treatments.
Surface with/without anti-fog coating
This element was devised by NASA during Gemini space project over five decades ago. However, with time, it has become an important component widely used on several transparent plastic and glass surfaces.
The anti-fog coating is a technology that has been developing gradually. The quest to get reliable and effective permanent anti-fog coating got a major momentum after researchers from Université Laval developed the first anti-fog coating.
The good news is:
This anti-fog coating is apparently hypoallergenic (unlikely to cause allergic reactions) and non-toxic which is vital for the sake of human use. Besides, it ensures that the surface of the plastic material where it is applied remains clear and also durable.
Research carried out by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that one of the best ways of reducing workplace injuries is by applying the anti-fog coating.
Furthermore, you also need to know that anti-fog coating is not limited only to eyewear or related products.
It can also be applied to a variety of plastics even those for industrial use as long as there is a need for preventing them from fogging.
Fridge door with/without anti-fog coating
For that reason, this element since its invention has played a critical role in making sure that visibility, particularly in the plastic products is improved.
Before we go into more details about anti-fog coating, let’s first understand the fogging phenomenon.
What is fogging?
And, how does fogging occur?
1.1. How does Fogging Occur on Plastic Products?
Fogging issue on plastic materials is one of the most frustrating phenomena that many people in different sectors have to deal with.
Apparently, if by any chance you work outside in warm weather, chances are high that you know the struggles that come with fogging eyewear.
Fogging on plastic products is merely about the condensation of water vapor on the surface of the plastic film. This is basically, the imbalance between the relative humidity and the air temperature.
Naturally occurring fog blocking visibility
This results from variances in surface tension that is between the polymer surface and moisture droplet.
Primarily, fogging occurs as a result of the difference in temperature between the internal and external surfaces of the plastic material.
When there is a drop in temperature on the interior side of the plastic film, moisture tends to build up.
It is this variation in temperature between the two surfaces that make the material to “sweat” hence fogging.
Polycarbonate helmet visor with anti-fog coating
It may also occur due to cooling of the air close to the plastic film to a particular temperature that it can never retain the vapor. This, in turn, leads to excess water condensing on the film.
1.2. Basic Elements that Lead to Fogging on Plastic Products
As I have mentioned above, fogging on plastic materials often happen primarily as a result of changes in temperature.
However, it would also be important to understand some of the elements that cause the changes in temperature that in turn make the plastic surfaces to fog.
This is a fundamental cause of fogging on plastic surfaces. It is basically the change in the surrounding temperature that seems to rise more than the normal one.
This is also another cause of fogging on plastics. What usually happens is that more moisture content in the air results in higher chances of fogging on plastic lenses.
The truth of the matter is that high humidity levels tend to increase fogging issues, especially on hot and humid days.
When your eyewear is tightly held on your face, there will be lack of air flow. This thus restricts circulation of air which then leads to change in temperature and ultimately fogging on the lenses.
This refers to the situation where you’re engaged in strenuous activities. The body then generates more heat and produce sweat due to increased temperature.
It is this additional heat and moisture that then make the plastic lenses to fog.
Now, what are the effects of fogging problem in various industries?
Effects of Fogging Problem on Plastic Products (How it Affects Productivity & Safety)
Here is the truth:
Fogging on plastic products is problematic in many aspects of life. Construction workers, welders, first responders, agriculturalists and various industrial packages, dealing with fogged plastic materials is exceedingly infuriating.
Car windshield with/without anti-fog coated film
Some of the main effects of fogging include:
- Fog is a Major Safety Concern
You need to know that plastic lens fogging is also a considerable safety concern among the people who wear them.
It is a problem that cuts across different segments. For instance, plastic lens fogging is a vital safety concern especially when driving.
Some accidents have been reported that arise from the fogging issue of the plastic lenses. Ordinarily, it leads to poor visibility hence barring the driver, a rider as well as the pedestrian from seeing the oncoming traffic clearly.
Have a look at this video:
Furthermore, it also leads to slow down in the movement of traffic especially during rainy days and at night. Because of poor visibility, it becomes relatively difficult for the traffic to move on swiftly.
- Reduce Visibility in Packaging Products
In industrial packaging, fogging on plastic surfaces also tends to reduce the ideal visibility of the product. This subsequently results in unattractive appearance of the package, which on many occasions deters consumers from purchasing the product.
Film with anti-fog coating
Moreover, the moisture droplets can also lead to deterioration of the quality of the product and in some cases rapid contamination.
- Results in Slow Growth of Plants due to Poor Light Transmission
In the agricultural sector, fogging is also regarded as a significant problem as it leads to a reduction in light transmission. This in turn results to slow growth of plants and adversely affecting crop yield in the long run.
Some plants, which are not resistant to harsh environmental conditions also tend to burn due to effects of the lens that produce drops of sunlight.
The operations of the greenhouse can also be affected by the water that drops from the interior side of the plastic film surface.
Generally, fogging on plastic materials is problematic in all spheres hence the need to ensure that it is contained or if possible prevented.
In this post, I want to educate you concerning some of the essentials aspects regarding anti-fog coating.
With this guide, it will be comparatively easy for you to understand various aspects revolving around anti-fog coating on plastic products.
Let’s explore yet another important aspect of anti-fog coating.
Main Materials that can be Applied on Anti-fog Coating
Now that you know what causes fogging, it is now time to focus on the main materials that you can use with anti-fog coating.
This chapter focus on a more in-depth and analysis of anti-fog coating materials.
As I had stated earlier, anti-fog coating, whether on plastic films or sheets, they aim to prevent accumulation of tiny water droplets on a surface.
Remember, it is these tiny water droplets that form fog.
This section will have two main parts:
- Materials that form anti-fog coating (basic ingredients/chemical composition)
- Surface of material where to apply anti-fog coating
With this information, you will come to appreciate how this coating eliminates the fogging phenomenon.
Anyway, let dive right into the key subject of this section:
2.1 Material that form Anti-fog Coating (Basic Ingredients/Chemical Composition)
As a matter of fact, there are so many compounds that make ideal anti-fog coating. However, only a few are popular industrial and domestic applications.
Remember, when choosing any of these compounds you should not only focus on the ability to eliminate fog but also safety of users.
For the scope of this section, I will focus on some of the most popular anti-fog compounds.
This element is in some occasions referred to as Titania. In particular, it is the oxide of Titanium chemical that occurs naturally.
It can be used on plastic products as a pigment where in most instances it’s known as pigment white 6 (PW6) or simply Titanium white.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2)
This particular material comes from anatase, ilmenite and rutile. Other than using it on plastic products as an anti-fog coating material, it can also be used as paint, sunscreen and in some instances as a food coloring agent.
The TiO2 films that are used for preventing fogging are usually prepared in different chemical laboratories that have a specialty in this sector.
When under UV light Titanium dioxide turns out to have a high tendency of mixing, dissolving and even getting wet by water.
Polyvinyl Alcohol an Anti-fog Coating
The use of polyvinyl alcohol as an anti-fog coating begun in 2011 when researchers at the Université Laval conducted a successful research on this compound.
It was a major breakthrough in the journey to finding a perfect anti-fog coating that could naturally eliminate the fogging phenomenon.
Being a hydrophilic compound, polyvinyl alcohol makes water droplets to spread into a thin film in both glass and plastic surfaces.
The process involves applying several layers of polyvinyl alcohol molecules thereby forming a strong bond. It results in a multilayer coating which eliminates fogging and does not interfere with the optical properties of the surface.
This coating is strong and can withstand several washings.
Alternatively, the process may involve adding layers of silicon molecules on the surface you want to improve the anti-fogging properties. Most manufacturers use an atmospheric plasma process.
As these layers bond, they leave room for the alcohol compound to bond in them. This guarantees a durable anti-fog coating.
This is also an alternative hydrophilic coating technology that most manufacturers are trying to explore. As you can see from the name, this hydrophilic anti-fog coating has two Nano-scale particles:
- Colloidal silica
- Porous organosilicate micelles
Hydrophilic anti-fog coating
You can use this coating on many materials such as:
The good thing about this hydrophilic anti-fog coating is that, you can apply it in nearly all clear plastic surfaces.
Here, the process involves spin coating PEMA and PVA layers. During this process:
- PEMA acts as an interface allowing for covalent bonds to form between the surface and PVA hydroxyl groups
- PVA provides the needed hydrophilic nature of the surface
The result of this spin coating process produces a surface that delays the initial time of fogging and eliminates fogging.
From the three examples, you can see that the process of developing or manufacturing an anti-fog coating involves some molecular reaction. It is this reaction that produces a layer that prevents fogging on surfaces.
Again, these are not the only possible anti-fog coating formulations available in the market. The choice of a specific coating will depend on prior research and what the manufacturer considers suitable for a specific application.
Now, that you have the coating, where should you apply it?
2.2. Surface of Material where to Apply Anti-fog Coating
Depending on the chemical composition of the anti-fog coating, you can apply it on either glass or plastic surfaces.
However, for the scope of this guide, the main focus will be on plastic surfaces.
Let’s have a quick overview of these materials:
Anti-fog Coating on Polymer
A polymer is a general term that refers to all sorts of plastics on the market. It is basically a large molecule or macromolecule that consists of numerous subunits.
We have both natural and synthetic polymers which play a fundamental and ubiquitous role in our day to day lives.
Polymer – Photo Credits: SCIENCE NEWS FOR STUDENTS
Polymers are created via the polymerization of various micro molecules commonly known as monomers.
The type of polymer that is used for anti-fog coating purposes is processed in chemical laboratories to produce what is compatible with the particular surface material.
Polymers, in general, are durable and can last for many years when used as a material for preventing fogging on plastic products.
Notably, when it comes to polymers, you can apply the anti-fog coating on sheets or films.
For example, you may coat a polycarbonate or PMMA film with anti-fog ingredients. Thus, you will have anti-fog film.
Below is a video 48-seconds video that illustrates everything you need to know about anti-fog film:
Alternatively, you may coat PMMA or polycarbonate sheet with anti-fog substrates.
The bottom line:
Where you intend to use the anti-fog coating will depend on your unique application requirements.
Later in this guide, you will see some practical applications of anti-fog coatings.
Apart from polymers, we have:
This refers to a brittle, colorless and translucent material that is derived from different parts of the animal.
It is used in a wide range of applications, but including industrial manufacturing as well as photography.
It is produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen obtained from some connective animal tissues, skin, as well as bones through a mixture of proteins and peptides.
This particular property does not dissolve when put in water. Also, it is also soluble hence making it an ideal material for anti-fog coating.
Photo credits: RSC PUBLICATIONS
Well, to improve their performance, you can add anti-fog solution.
The truth is:
Anti-fog coating come in different formulations that are suitable for many films and sheets. All you need to do is an in-depth understanding on the material where you intend to apply the coating.
With this information, you can choose a suitable chemical compound.
Remember, you can also use the above information as classification criteria. For instance, you can classify anti-fog coatings depending on:
- Chemical composition of the coating such as titanium dioxide, polyvinyl alcohol, etc.
- Type of material where you can have an anti-fog sheet or film.
Since we now know some of the basic materials that can be as anti-fog agents, let us go ahead and look at how anti-fog coating works.
How does Anti-fog Coating Work?
For people who are new to anti-fog coating technology, this process may seem so complicated.
The good news is that it’s not – the process is simple and straightforward.
From chapter 2, it is quite clear that the modern anti-fog coatings are basically hydrophilic substrates.
Therefore, to understand how anti-fog coating works, I will basically explain how hydrophilic molecules behave to eliminate fogging phenomenon.
So, what is a hydrophilic ingredient?
These are basically, “water loving” ingredients. That is, they have a high affinity for water (get attracted to it).
Of course, this is due to their molecular structure, where their charge polarized molecules allows for hydrogen bonding. As a result, they are not only soluble in water, but in other polar solvents.
Remember hydrophobic is the opposite of hydrophilic
Quick note: Hydrophobic repel water, hence referred to as water “hating”.
Now, why is hydrophilic molecules/property important in anti-fog coating?
3.1. How Hydrophilic Anti-fog Coating Solves Fogging Problem
The working principle of hydrophilic anti-fog coating solely depends on molecular interaction. This makes it a safe and reliable coating for plastics.
When water droplets (fog) form on a surface with a hydrophilic anti-fog coating, it will reduce the surface tension of water. As a result, water droplets or bubble will spread into a thin transparent film.
Remember, it is the surface tension force that helps to hold water molecules together, forming bubbles. Once the surface tension is weak, the molecules cannot form bubbles.
Water bubble on hydrophilic vs. hydrophobic surface
This film is so thin to an extent that it allows light to pass through it with virtually no distortion. As a result, you will see everything clearly – there will be no more distorted or blurred vision.
With the earlier generations of hydrophilic anti-fog coatings, the main challenge was the possibility of water dissolving active ingredients after some time. It is for this reason that those anti-fog treatments could lose their effectiveness after a period of time.
However, the situation is quite different with the modern anti-fog coating – why?
A number of hydrophilic anti-fog coating manufacturers use hydrophilic additives with polyester (PET) substrates. They bind all these on the plastic surfaces.
As a result, they produce anti-fog coating that can last for years since they do not lose their hydrophilic property. In fact, you can refer to them as permanent anti-fog coating.
Still, you should note that:
From the above description, it is evident that hydrophilic coating manipulates the molecular structure of water. That is, it changes bubbles (fog) into a thin film.
Helmet visor with/without hydrophilic anti-fog coating
In most cases, a hydrophilic coating may have loosely cross linked polymer. Under such circumstances, the polymer will act as a “microscopic sponge”, which will uptake water.
Alternatively, the thin film of water can flow downwards without affecting the optical properties of the surface. Again, in the case of plastic windshield, this water will evaporate with time as air flows over the surface.
As you can see, the working principle of hydrophilic anti-fog coating is quite simple and straightforward. There are no chemical processes involved here.
At the moment, hydrophilic substrates are some of the most popular anti-fog coatings in the market. Of course, this is due to the many benefits that I will explain shortly in this guide.
Benefits of Anti-fog Coating
The most important reason for applying an anti-fog coating on plastic products is to help in preventing their surfaces from misting.
As earlier mentioned, misting can cause some adverse effects on plastic material depending on what it is correctly used for.
However, it is also ideal to understand that this particular form of coating presents other numerous benefits both to you as the user and the product.
Let’s have a look at some of these advantages;
1. Helps in Preventing Workplace Personal Injury
As you might know, most of the industrial activities require one to wear protective gears and eyewear is one of these fundamental gears.
A survey by the Accident Analysis & Prevention Magazine found out that more than 60% of the employees suffer from injuries due to their failure to wear protective goggles and helmets.
Racing goggles with anti-fog coating
Further probing revealed that most of these employees tend not wear the masks or goggles due to fogging which subsequently prevents them from clear visibility.
It therefore implies that:
You should apply anti-fog coating on all eyewear products to prevent the likelihood of such accidents.
The overall significance of this is that:
- It saves you from unnecessary expenses due to injury in form of either medical bills or compensation.
- Prevents waste of time that would subsequently lead to low level of productivity.
The bottom line:
It doesn’t matter whether you wear a fireman’s visor, a military gas mask, or construction goggles. Once it has an anti-fogging treatment, you can avoid the possible injuries and stay safe.
2. Enhances Visibility while Cycling or Driving
Ideally, wearing eyewear that is full of fog is not only frustrating but also risky. You won’t be able to see clearly what is ahead of you.
When driving or cycling, fogging on your plastic eyewear product can lead to serious injuries or even death as a result of poor visibility.
Cycling goggles – Photo Credits: BIKE MAG
At times fogging on such products seems to build up slowly depending on the temperature change and humidity of the surrounding.
So you might assume that it is something that won’t last for long only to realize later that you can never see things around you.
When you apply anti-fog coating on such products, you’re guaranteed of safety. It is primarily because these treatments always prevent such fogging from building up.
The best part:
You can cruise or cycle without any difficulty in viewing people or objects along your way.
3. Improves Products Appeal
Most of the products especially fast moving goods like food are often packaged in plastic materials. Fogging on the surfaces of these packages can considerably reduce the attractiveness of the product.
It thus results to either to contamination of the food or reduces clients’ urge to buy the same product due to unsightliness.
Products in plastic containers – Photo Credits: PRODUCE BUSINESS
But when anti-fog coatings are applied on these packages, the water droplets that tend to form around them will disappear.
The product will look attractive all the time it stays on the shelf.
It will also improve the shelf-life of that particular product. This is because the moisture content on the surface of the cover will be low.
4. Protects the Plastic Product from Rapid Wearing Out
The anti-fog agents contain particles that are helpful in enhancing the durability of the surface of the particular plastic material. This is critical when you consolidate it with other coating technologies.
You will learn more about this in chapter 7 – technologies that can be applied together with anti-fog coating.
Often, the surface of the plastic products necessarily would come into contact with other objects that in turn causing them to scratch.
Anti-fog visor insert
This reduces their effectiveness in serving their purpose hence reducing their durability. But on the other hand, the anti-fogging chemicals help in protecting the surfaces from such happenings.
The net effect is that your plastic eyewear products will be able to last for a comparatively long time. This allows you to prevent buying this particular product all the time from the shop and thus saving a considerable amount of money.
5. Prevents you from Excessive Eye Strain
When you experience an obscured visibility, but you still want to see the surrounding, it is quite apparent that you will have to struggle.
Prevents possible eye strain – Photo Credits: QUORA
It is this struggle that strains your eyes so much. When it is repeatedly done, the result is that the nerves will probably get exhauste.
Under such circumstances, there are high chances that you might start suffering from eye problems.
This is something that no one would really desire to happen to them.
To avoid this, simply use an eyewear with anti-fog coating to avoid straining due to poor visibility.
Failure to use eyewear with anti-fog coating will only result into more expenses. Remember, this is something you can easily avoid.
Anti-fog Coating Applications: Products that need Anti-fog Coating to Solve Fogging Problem
For the longest time possible, many people never knew the significance of anti-fog coating. In fact, people took it as a normal thing for plastic surfaces to become foggy when in humid or high-temperature areas.
To say the least, few people would think of the possibility of eliminating fogging on plastic materials. However, with time, it has become one of the most sought-after element.
If you’re keen, you will realize that anti-fog coating is used in a wide range of sectors for various purposes.
In this chapter, I want us to look at some of the fundamental areas where this particular type of treatment is performed and the value it adds.
Anti-fog Coating for Sunglass and Sports Eyewear
Hiking, mountaineering, cycling and sunbathing are among the various sporting activities where goggles with anti-fog coating are a must have accessories.
Goggles for snow hiking – Photo credits: DOUGLAS VAN BOSSUYT
In many occasions, such activities call for eyewear made of plastic material. Depending on the weather, these products often fog while you’re using them hence causing different kinds of inconveniences.
These days, however, most manufacturers of these particular items have seen the need for integrating the anti-fogging agents in them.
It makes it possible for you to use these items efficiently by preventing any form of invisibility whenever you’re putting them on.
Furthermore, the anti-fog coatings are nowadays used in both tinted and transparent plastic substrates thus ideal for an enhanced visual clarity.
Some of the devices where such coatings can be applied under this category include visors, masks, goggles, shields and sunglasses among others.
Anti-fog coatings for Architecture and Building
Modern construction incorporates a wide range of elements. For instance, you can use various plastic products in different parts of a building such as:
- Walkway covers
- Shower doors roofs
- Ice hockey arena walls
- Outdoor signage installations
- Plastic Mirrors, among others.
Polycarbonate mirror with anti-fog coating
Anti-fog coatings are helpful in protecting the surfaces of these materials from fogging. It plays a fundamental role in those located in areas that tend to be humid most of the time.
Take for example, polycarbonate mirrors in bathrooms.
This coating is also ideal for ensuring that the surfaces of these building components maintain exceptional visual clarity.
Moreover, the anti-fogging agents help in getting rid of steam that would form on these materials’ surfaces. This is often common during hot and humid summer temperatures.
Anti-fog Coatings for Medical and Safety
These coatings are widely used in the medical field for various purposes. Some are used in different medical devices whereas others are used for safety eyewear during medical practices.
The significance of all these coatings is that they help in improving the optical clarity during various medical operations, personal safety and durability.
Sanitary mask with anti-fog
In this field, the anti-fogging agents are applied on the electronic display boards, vascular implant equipment among others.
The coatings are also essential in face shields, medical goggles, visors and masks among many more.
Anti-fog Coating on Commercial Display Cases
Various food outlets often pack their products inside plastic cases for easy display to the consumers. For perishable items like fruits and vegetables, it is ideal if they are under refrigeration-on-display.
It thus means that the cases will most likely accumulate water droplets as a result of the freezing fridge hence becoming foggy. This can obscure visibility and reduce the value of the products.
But nowadays, the anti-fog coatings applied on these commercial display cases help in ensuring that they do not become foggy.
No fogging phenomenon – Photo Credits: JD REFRIGERATION
These coatings prevent entirely fogging on non-heated covers. They are also essential in extending the durability of the products as well as that of fridge’s compressor.
Eventually, you’ll realize that the overall energy consumption will also be low. It is because the unnecessary power usage due to temporary fogging is eliminated.
Anti-fog Coating in Automotive and Transit
This is the other sector where the anti-fog coating is increasingly becoming useful. In fact, these treatments are used to speed up the durability of different components found in bus stops, taxis, buses and enclosed transit shelters.
They are also used on sunroofs of vehicles, windows, car lights, panel display as well as gauges. The anti-fog coating helps in enhancing the clarity of such surfaces.
It then results to the better vision which leads to safety especially when it comes to cycling or driving.
Anti-fog Coating on Display Technologies
Most of the display boards or panels are designed for outdoor purposes. It means that they are prone to all harsh weather conditions given that they stay exposed all the time.
Changes in temperature and humidity also tend to affect them such that it becomes easy for them to be foggy.
This is where anti-fogging agents become essential. They are helpful in making sure that the plastic surfaces of these display panels do not turn sweaty.
Given that their purpose is to relay information to the particular target audience, the anti-fog coatings make them possible for people to see and read the information clearly.
The anti-fogging coating also prevents these display boards from discoloration even when exposed to sunlight for long.
As you can see, anti-fog coating plays a pivotal role in many applications. It eliminates possible obstructions due to tiny water droplets that manifest in the form of fog.
Coating technologies that can be Applied Together with Anti-fog Coating
Let’s get this point clear:
Anti-fog coating will only prevent the fogging phenomena. However, fog is one of the many natural phenomena that cause blur vision.
Remember, other aspects such as scratch, varying light intensity, dirt or even oil may distort vision.
So, what should you do?
You must add other coating technologies to ensure an optical class 1 surface. Apparently, the chemical composition of anti-fog coating substances might not guarantee this.
It is for this reason that you’ll find many manufacturers or lab experts integrating the anti-fogging agents with other coating technologies.
The essence is apparently to ensure that the end product is effective and can serve the purpose the way it is designed to do.
In this chapter, we want to discuss some of the fundamental coating technologies that would be helpful in consolidating the anti-fog coating.
Anti-scratch Coating for Plastics
You probably don’t want to hear this, but ideally, there isn’t any plastic product that can be said to entirely resistant to any form of scratch.
Nonetheless, the anti-scratch technology is available to help in minimizing the effects of scratching on plastic surfaces. This is vital because other than enhancing their appeal, it also helps in increasing the durability of these items.
You will realize that most of the anti-fog coatings also go hand in hand with the anti-scratch coating during application.
Surface with/without anti-scratch
So that in as much as you will have a fogging-free item, it also stays scratch-free when under usage. It would undoubtedly be pointless to have a plastic product that can perhaps prevent fogging from forming on its surface, but it is full of scratches.
Typically, it will not leave to serve its purpose, especially of clear visibility.
Anti-reflective Coating for Plastic
This is also another ideal technology that can be integrated with anti-fogging agents on your plastic products.
The anti-reflective coatings are essential in preventing light from reflecting especially on your plastic or polycarbonate lenses.
When it is put together with the anti-fog coating, it makes the particular plastic material not only to be safe but also to be effective when using it.
The anti-reflective coatings in most cases are incorporated in most of the plastic products at the time of manufacturing.
This is because in many cases, it becomes difficult for the coatings to integrate well especially in plastic products that are used for visibility purposes.
When you get a plastic product that has both anti-fog and anti-reflective coatings, you’re confident of using it in all aspects. This is because the surface will prevent both glare and fogging phenomena.
Ultra Violet Coatings for Plastics
The UV radiations are often dangerous to human being or food products, whether natural or artificial. If you’re keen enough, you’ll realize that most of the plastic materials come when already fitted with UV filters.
It is vital since it makes it possible for the users or the particular item that will use the plastic material to remain safe from the dangers of the UV rays.
An illustration of co-extrusion of UV on PC sheet
The good thing with UV coatings is that they can be integrated together with the anti-fog coating during manufacturing.
UV coatings are imperative when consolidated with the anti-fog treatments. It is because they are helpful in barring the harmful radiations as well as eliminating fogging on the surface of the plastic material.
It is also significant to understand that an ideal plastic material, especially for visibility, should prevent fogging and block UV rays.
From human being perspective, it helps in improving their health as far as the eyes and skin are concerned.
From the perspective of food and plant products, the consolidation of these two technologies enhances their imperishability and shelf-attractiveness.
Photochromic Coating for Plastic
Photochromic coating technology is also essential in the sense that it plays a significant role in enhancing visibility and durability in plastic products.
The photochromic coating is where the substrate is injected into the surface material of the plastic product.
Together with anti-fog coating, you get the best end product that offers the efficiency of high quality regardless of the surrounding you’re operating in.
The combination of these two technologies on a polycarbonate material enhances the durability of the product.
The good thing with the integration of these two technologies is that it can work on both tinted and clear surfaces. Therefore, it makes it easy for one to use them on surfaces of varied applications such as eyewear, greenhouses and commercial displays boards among others.
Furthermore, you can also consolidate it with anti-graffiti and hydrophobic coatings.
Now, I know you could be having some questions on anti-fog coating technologies. Well, I will respond to them shortly.
FAQ for all your Questions about Anti-Fog Coating
Anti-fog coating is a new post-modern technology that is currently hitting different industries. But still, many questions always arise especially among the potential users in various sectors.
In fact, you will find many companies exploring other options such as sprays and anti-fog inserts. A good example is the WeePro anti-fog visor insert.
Here is a short video about this product (this is just a by the way):
Let’s go back to the main subject of this section:
It would, therefore, be fair if we try to answer most of the frequently asked questions just for the sake of enlightening the potential users on what it is all about.
In this chapter, I have compiled a number of questions that you will always hear potential customers asking the dealers and manufacturers of anti-fog products.
1. How does an anti-fog coating work?
These coatings are designed to be hydrophilic. What it means is that the moisture from the surrounding or the user is absorbed on the coated surface.
The coatings then allow for the moisture to be distributed evenly hence preventing fogging.
2. Can you explain the difference between hydrophilic and hydrophobic anti-fog coatings?
Hydrophilic coatings make it possible for uniform absorption of water. Water tends to sheet evenly hence enhancing clarity for better vision.
On the other hand, hydrophobic coatings enable moisture to bead up on the material’s surface and run off.
3. Do anti-fog coatings possess anti-scratch properties?
No, anti-fog substrates are different from anti-scratch substrates.
This is why you have to consolidate anti-scratch coating with anti-fog coating. With this, the surface is said to have both anti-scratch and anti-fog properties.
4. What are the best ways for applying anti-fog coatings?
This depends on the specific object that this component is applied on. It also depends on the size of the object. Nonetheless, the two highly regarded means in the industry are dip coating and flow coating technologies.
5. What is the ideal way for cleaning an anti-fog coating plastic object?
You need to use recommended detergents to clean the surface of anti-fog coating material. Nevertheless, a solution of water and a non-abrasive soap would be ideal.
But never attempt to clean the anti-fog coating surface by rubbing it to the extent of becoming dry. This would remove or destroy the coating.
6. Is anti-fog coating applied before or after purchasing the plastic product?
This entirely depends on the type of coating treatment that you prefer. For the basic coatings, it can be applied before or after you have purchased the product.
It also depends on the type of polycarbonate material that you are using. Some can only be coated during processing to integrate well with the material whereas some can be coated later on after purchasing.
7. Are solvents suitable for anti-fog coatings?
Ideal and genuine anti-fog coatings can withstand exposure to pure solvents for a while. However continuous exposure will lead to degradation of the quality of the coatings.
8. What specific substances should I keep off anti-fog coatings
Any chemical that contains acid, abrasives or oil should never come anywhere close to your anti-fog coating object.
Silicon is also dangerous for both post and pre-cure of this particular coating.
9. Is primer necessary for anti-fog products?
This is because most of the anti-fog products provide better adhesion ability to most of the transparent substrates like plastic.
Therefore, the primer wouldn’t be as necessary as such since they are often required for adhesion for glass products.
10. How do I tell whether or not an anti-fog product can adhere to my product?
After the identification of the particular type of substrate, the experts will be able to recommend the appropriate anti-fog coating for the same.
This is essential because, upon expert’s assessment, they will also determine whether or not primer would be necessary for its application.
11. What is the cost of anti-fog coating?
The price is dependent on the specific type of anti-fog coating that you have selected as well as the quantity required for the entire object.
12. Can I DIY anti-fog application?
Yes and No.
Yes, when you’re using an anti-fog material like a film which is relatively easy to apply and also does not need knowledge and equipment.
On the other hand, it would be impossible to DIY the liquid anti-fog coating because it requires a comparatively experienced expert.
It also needs a somewhat complex coating facility, an oven for curing as well as the adequate and clean room.
13. Can anti-fog coating coatings be customized?
Because the needs of consumers vary hence each coating is applied to meet the specific requirements of an individual.
14. How long does an anti-fog coating last?
It can last for as many years as possible depending on the how the product is used or exposed to particular conditions.
But averagely, an ideal anti-fogging treatment should last for between 12 to 24 months. But as mentioned above, there could be an exception based on usage and exposure.
15. Can an anti-fog coating be reapplied?
Typically, it depends on the type of the particular anti-fog coating that you’re using. It also depends on the nature of the particular plastic product.
Then again, whether or not to reapply the coating also depends on the cost of the application. If it is more than purchasing a new one, you’d rather think otherwise.
16. Is the anti-fog coating applied on both sides of the object
Again this also depends on the type of product that you are using. Some can be applied on both sides to prevent both internal and external fogging.
Nonetheless, some can only be applied on one side of the surface depending on how and what it is used for.
17. How can I tell that I’m dealing with a genuine anti-fog coating dealer?
You need to deal with a company that adheres to strict manufacturing standards. That is, from the choice of material to quality testing procedures.
The truth is:
You should trust an anti-fog coating that meets the following quality standards:
- Pass freezing and steam tests
- Conform to the ECE 22.05/ ECE 324
A company that adheres to strict manufacturing process will definitely guarantee a high quality and reliable anti-fog coating.
18. Is it possible to remove the anti-fog coating from the plastic product?
Several means can be used to eliminate the anti-fog coatings from the plastic surface. Some methods require a chemical process whereas others simply need you scratch the coating gently.
19. How safe is an anti-fog coating?
The elements that are used in manufacturing this coating have been tested and proven to be safe for human being and food products.
Therefore, chances of getting harm as a result of possible reaction with anti-fog compounds are extremely low.
20. Can anti-fog coating be applied on tinted, translucent or opaque objects?
Ordinarily, the purpose of applying anti-fog is to prevent water droplets from forming and settling on the surface of the object.
So it is much possible for the anti-fog coatings to be applied to any type of polycarbonate material as long you want to prevent it from fogging.
I hope this addresses most of your concerns. Still, in case you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a quick comment below.
WeeTect Anti-fog Coating for your Products
WeeTect anti-fog coating (WAFC) provides an ideal solution for all your fogging problems. Our coating mainly features hydrophilic anti-fog compounds as the primary substrates.
Depending on your unique application requirements, you can apply WeeTect anti-fog coating on polycarbonate sheets and films. Besides, you can also use it on PMMA sheets and films.
Owing to its flexibility, it also allows for injection molding.
Over the years, WeeTect has adopted the best hydrophilic ingredients, while using better coating technologies.
Here at WeeTect, we use dip and flow coating technologies, with curing mechanisms being UV or thermo curing. These leave behind an effective and permanent anti-fog coating that will remain intact for years.
For an optical class 1 surface, WeeTect anti-fog coating can be consolidated with other technologies. This may include anti-scratch, UV resistant and photochromic technologies just to mention a few.
Basically, WeeTect gives all its clients an opportunity to have custom options, depending on their unique application requirements.
Due to its versatility, you can use WeeTect anti-fog coating in many applications such as:
- Helmet visors
- Window films
- Face shields
- Fog free shower mirrors
- Refrigerator windows
- Digital display panels
- Commercial display cases
- Pool cover enclosures
- Eyewear etc.
WeeTect anti-fog coating undergoes a thorough scientifically proven quality inspection process to ensure that it meets the market’s quality standards.
This is fundamental because it helps in providing the essential substrates that enable the surface of the material to stay fog free all the time.
It conforms to the ECE 22.05 standards, besides passing steam and freezing test. In case you want to learn more about this product, you can review this data sheet.
Anti-fog coating data sheet
To be honest with you, it is an infuriating experience trying to see through a fogged object. This is why WeeTect anti-fog coating is a perfect choice for all your fogging problems.
And the truth of the matter is that WeeTect anti-fog coatings are ordinarily permanent. This coating does not wash away easily.
Remember, this is a safe product that is environmentally friendly. You will not experience any instances of itching or allergic reaction even when you’re in direct contact with WeeTect anti-fog coating.
It is just that anti-fog coating that you are looking for.
As you have seen in throughout this guide, an anti-fog coating plays a pivotal role in improving visibility.
It eliminates fog on various surfaces besides you can consolidate it with other coating technologies.
The end result:
You’ll have a safe and aesthetically pleasing plastic product.
Whether in a merchandise display store or other outdoor activities such as cycling, there will be no fog.
And by the way:
Do you still experience fogging on your plastic products?
Or, do you wish to share your experience with anti-fog coating products?
Feel free to leave a quick comment below. Alternatively, you can contact me for free consultations on anti-fog coating.