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Innovative Anti-Fog Technology for Personal Protection Eyewear


OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative anti-fog technology concepts compatible with impact resistant transparent materials and associated coatings that can be applied to optically corrected complex curvature lenses. DESCRIPTION: Fogging of eyewear has been a long standing issue regardless of the eyewear purpose. Protective eyewear is only effective when worn properly; however, if the user cannot see through the protective eyewear due to fogging, the eyewear is most often removed to accomplish the tasks and thus negates the protection. There are many commercial anti-fog coatings available, however the anti-fogging performance is still highly variable and subject to trade-offs with other performance objectives such as compatibility with the lens material, anti-scratch coatings, and resistance to chemicals among the chief concerns. An innovative new approach to prevent fogging is needed. Ideas such as highly durable superhydrophilic surfaces or coatings, oleophobic coatings to aid in self-cleaning and other unique approaches are desired. Concepts should be compatible with the various impact resistant transparent materials in use today, such as polycarbonate and nylon, and the associated anti-scratch and anti-reflective coatings used with those materials as determined by tests described in ANSI Standard Z87.1 and MIL-PRF-32432. Permanent and re-applied approaches are considered, however treatment/coatings lasting longer than 6 weeks of continued anti-fog usage would be highly desired. The new concepts must maintain the lens materials ability to meet ANSI Z87.1 standard and military ballistic fragment protection requirements, and ultimately to meet performance tests described in MIL-PRF-32432, and be able to be applied to optically corrected complex curvature lenses. Powered concepts must minimize power consumption, be nearly inaudible (15 dB or less) when worn, self-contained for power, minimize wearer vibration, and maintain compatibility with helmet fit, and not prone to snagging. Powered concepts should have a goal of being able to last a full 72 hour mission without needing a battery change/recharge. Anti-fog effectiveness should be evaluated according to the established international standards, such as ASTM F659 Appendix A, EN 168, and others as acceptable, with an ideal goal of having a change in Haze (ASTM Standard D1003-00) of less than 2%. PHASE I: Identify candidate anti-fog concepts and demonstrate anti-fog effectiveness. Demonstrate the ability to incorporate concept and show compatibility with impact resistant transparent materials in optically corrected complex curvature lens geometry. Identify partnerships with an eyewear manufacturer for guidance on manufacturability. Mitigate risk by identifying and addressing the most challenging technical barriers in order to establish viability of the concept. PHASE II: Refine the anti-fog technology concept to improve anti-fog effectiveness and address ability for high volume manufacturing. For powered concepts, optimize the size/power consumption with a goal of lasting for a 72 hour mission without requiring a battery change/recharge. Minimize sound and vibration to the user. Conduct initial ballistic fragment protection tests and rework design as necessary. Provide at least 50 final version working prototypes for government testing and initial Warfighter acceptance testing. PHASE III: Further develop concept anti-fog technology for a final technology able to be incorporated into manufacturing lines of protective eyewear manufacturers. Conduct full acceptance tests in accordance with MIL-PRF-32432 on an Authorized Protection Eyewear List (APEL) approved product. PHASE III DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: The initial use for this technology will be to improve anti-fog performance of military protective eyewear. Additional dual-use applications will naturally cover the commercial protective eyewear markets. Depending upon the applicability of the technology, additional dual-use applications would cover any commercial market needing anti-fog protection for transparent materials such as recreational SCUBA divers, automotive windows, aircraft windows, instrument panel windows, etc.
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