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Taking the Wipers Off of the Windshield

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Aren’t windshield wipers a pain sometimes? When they get old, they leave long streaks of water and make a horrible noise if there’s a smidge too little water on the glass. In the winter, if you don’t leave them sticking up, they could just turn into a mobile bundle of ice.

force fields to replace windshield wipers

You know what you did, wiper

So what if you got rid of them? Oh, and not the way Formula One’s McLaren wants to?

In May, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair brought in over 1,700 teens to Pittsburgh for an inventing competition. One of the finalist groups was Eric Breuer and Florian Maly, 11th-graders from Luxembourg, who had created a new way of keeping a windshield clear, wiper-free.

Basically, the idea involves high-speed air. The device they built (scaled down somewhat, since they tested their idea on a one-eighteenth scale model of a car in a wind tunnel), consisted of a nozzle with very close plates at the mouth, blowing air very quickly over the windshield to repel water that they sprayed at it from a hose.

Interestingly, the angle that the air blew had a strong effect on how well the wind screen worked – at 50 km/hr (a little over 30 mph), the air screen worked the best at 45 degrees. Other speeds could work better with different angles, but the young inventors said that this could easily be controlled by an onboard computer and change with the speed of the car.