Tsvetkova Polina Iurevna1, Gradaleva Ekaterina Aleksandrovna2
1Samara State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, student
2Samara State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Candidate of Philological Science, Assistant professor

The paper focuses on the characteristics of nano-modified glass. The examples of the usage of the product in Russia and abroad are discussed. As a result of research the author concludes that applying water-repelling material in building is ecologically and economically more advantageous than the usage of usual glass.

Keywords: construction material, nano-modified glass, the examples of the usage in building

Category: 05.00.00 Technical sciences

Article reference:
Nano-modified glass as a modern construction material // Modern scientific researches and innovations. 2015. № 1. P. 1 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

The city of the XXI century is represented by sparkling skyscrapers, huge storefronts, transparent walls and roofs. Buildings are like crystals. And it is a unique achievement of science and technology. The best examples are the skyscrapers of the business centre “Moscow-City” in Russia, the Hearst Tower in the USA, The Bow in Canada, One Shelley Street in Australia and lots of other glass constructions.

Glass has found new spheres of implementation and has become one of the main building materials, due to the following characteristics:

  • Transparence
  • High strength
  • Distinguished chemical resistance
  • Thermal sound insulation
  • Phenomenal  design variations

However, glass as a construction material has a very serious drawback: dirt accumulation. All the advances of glass lose their meaning because of it. Just imagine chic skyscrapers under dirt. Their facades will look so wretched.

You can imagine how difficult it is to tackle the problem of cleaning a modern building (for instance, cleaning all the windows of the Burj Khalifa takes 3 months)

The solution of this problem derives from a natural process. Its special properties are achieved by the lotus effect.

Although the self-cleaning phenomenon of the lotus was possibly known in Asia long ago its mechanism was explained only in the early 1970s by Wilhelm Barthlott. Studies were performed with the leaves of the lotus. To understand how that principle works let’s look at the lotus leaf in the microscope.

The surface has got lots of knobbles. Moreover, the leaf is covered with wax. It runs out of the plant`s glands, the so called bristles. Due to high surface tension, water droplets tend to minimize their own surface by trying to come to a spherical shape. As the drop cannot lie evenly on the leaf, it slithers away, collecting dust and dirt. That makes the leaf invulnerable for water and dirt.

Recently a special kind of glass – waterproof glass has appeared due to nanotechnology development. Now, let`s turn from theory to practice. I have two samples of glass with nano cover, and two samples of usual glass. You can easily recognize the differences between nano glass and ordinary glass.

I have made an experiment during my research. There are some results of my study: water drops on nano-glass are spherical. Due to their spherical shape, the drops on nano glass can move easily. If we consider the application of nano-glass in building, drops will fall down from it, collecting dust and the surface will stay clean. Drops on usual glass are flat. In reality they stick to the glass surface and make it dirty. So, one of the advantages of nano-glass is its function of protection from contamination. Thus, water is saved because there is no necessity to use it in the process of cleaning a building. Moreover, nano-glass reduces glaciation and it’s environmentally compatible.

Nano glass has been used in construction in many foreign countries. For instance:

  • A hotel in France
  • Robson Square Ice Rink in Vancouver
  • Poland University
  • Havila Office in Norway

Unfortunately, in our country such kind of glass is only being developed, but we hope it will appear in construction industry in the nearest future.

The results of my research have shown that waterproof protection will simplify building maintenance and make this process economically advantageous. Let’s turn to a true-life example. I have calculated that cleaning all the windows of the commercial centre Vertical costs about 350 000 rubles. And it’s necessary to perform it at least twice a year. The cost of self-cleaning glass for this structure could be paid off in 3 years.

To sum it up, self-cleaning glass should be used in modern construction to save the esthetics of buildings. As a future construction engineer, I will obviously use nano-modified glass in my projects.

  1. Barthlott W., Neinhuis C. The purity of sacred lotus or escape from contamination in biological surfaces // Planta, 1997 P. 1–8.
  2. Mueller T., Biomimetics, Design by Nature // National Geographic Magazine -April 2008 P. 68-91

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