How to Defrost Your Car Windows in Less Than a Second

Dartmouth College researchers have figured out how to get rid of the ice that often forms on your car's windshield during the winter in less than a second with the help of a process called pulse electrothermal de-icing (PETD). When surfaces are coated with a special film, PETD shoots a quick burst of electricity can remove the ice that forms on windows and walls.

If this sounds a bit too far-fetched for you, Swedish civil engineers are so convinced about the value of PETD, they're using the process to cover the 1-mile Uddevalla Bridge. Other intriguing uses for PETD:

  • Controlling energy consumption in frost-free refrigerators and air conditioners.
  • Protecting airplane windshields from icing.
  • Preventing power lines from buckling during ice storms.

The lone monkeywrench: Generating enough power for the process to work effectively and quickly on surfaces larger than a car or refrigerator. A running car can generate enough power to remove ice and refrigerators and ice machines can rely on carbon fiber composites or titanium (both non-transparent materials) to get the job done.

CNET News.com April 14, 2006

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