December 20, 2006 On cold winter mornings, car drivers often encounter moisture precipitating on the inside of the windscreen. This happens when warm, humid air comes into contact with a cold surface. At a particular temperature, known as the dew point, the moisture in the air condenses and forms a layer on the colder surface; irrespective of whether this is a glass containing a cold drink, the bathroom mirror after a shower, or the windshield of a cold car. Cold air is not able to contain as much moisture as warm air and this fact is much more noticeable in small spaces. Condensation can be prevented by increasing the volume of air (opening the windows), by heating the whole of the vehicle’s interior, or by heating at least the windshield to a temperature above the dew point. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Technology Development Group TEG in Stuttgart favour a third option. His new process warms up the windscreen – though not with costly copper heating elements, but instead with a transparent coat of carbon nano tubes (CNT).
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