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Ha, Bill Nye the Science Guy gives us the scoop on the new iPhone 3GS screen.

06-24-2009, 04:34 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 358
Ha, Bill Nye the Science Guy gives us the scoop on the new iPhone 3GS screen.

So awesome. Gizmodo got an exclusive written post by Bill Nye explaining the oleophobic screen on the 3GS:

Exclusive: Bill Nye the Science Guy was gracious enough to elbow Matt out of the way and write a Giz Explains column, in which he tackles the science of "oleophobia," and its relation to the new iPhone screen.

The new 3GS iPhone has a coating that helps you leave no, well hardly any, prints–-fingerprints. The glass screen is coated with a polymer, a plastic that human skin oil doesn't adhere to very well. People in the chemical bonding business like to call the finished surface "oleophobic."

Such a lovely Greek cognate may sound like it means "afraid of oil." And, it does, but it also connotes (or carries with) "aversion" or "not-like-to-be-around-tivity," if I may. Instead of sticking to the bonded-plastic surface of your new phone, the oil from you fingers or cheekbone or tip of your nose stays more or less together as its own smooshed droplet.

The Applers were able to do this by bonding this oleophobic polymer to glass. The polymer is an organic (from organisms) compound, carbon-based. The glass is nominally inorganic, silicon-based… solid rock. The trick is getting the one to stick to the other. This is carefully done with a third molecule that sticks to silicon on one side and to carbon-based polymers on the other side. Chemical engineers get it to stay stuck by inducing compounds to diffuse or "inter-penetrate" into the polymer. The intermediate chemical is a "silane," a molecule that has silicon and alkanes (chains of carbon atoms).

If you'd like—and I hope you will—take a moment and think about droplets, like water droplets, on a surface. Deep in the droplet, water molecules stick to each other. On the surface though, they stick to each other as well, but they also have to opportunity to stick or not to stick to the surface they're resting on. When they stick, say to the nylon fibers in a bikini strap, the swimsuit feels wet (or so I'm told). When they don't stick to the surface they're resting on, they bead up, like in the car wax commercials.

Well, the polymer that the 3GS iPhone screen is coated with doesn't let the oil of your skin stick to it very much. So, you don't leave fingerprints. The key is in the intermediate compounds, the silanes that hold the plastic to the glass.

So grab a hold of one, and for a change, watch almost nothing happen. It's chemistry.

Thanks so much, Bill! Written for Gizmodo - Copyright 23 June 2009 - Bill Nye The Science Guy®

(astrosaurus.com - My iPhone Games Blog)
(@astrosaurusblog - Twitter Account)
06-24-2009, 04:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 9,125
Wow, whatever Bill says I always understand it somehow =D

That's pretty awesome.


06-24-2009, 04:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,657
Lol I remember him during school....Bill Nye the science guy

Originally Posted by Somerandomdude View Post
...I vink you fail good sir. I don't vink vat yo get ze jok.
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06-24-2009, 04:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 642
does this mean i shouldnt put one of those screen overlay protectors on my 3gs?
06-24-2009, 04:57 PM
Joined: May 2009
Location: The Underworld
Posts: 9,230
Originally Posted by aleceiffel View Post
does this mean i shouldnt put one of those screen overlay protectors on my 3gs?
couldn't hurt...it would just protect your screen and it's coating...i got the static cling protector from apple and i've never had to use the spare it came with
06-24-2009, 05:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Atlantis
Posts: 207

God that is the most annoying theme song on earth, and now I got it stuck in my head for the next week +. Dammit, astrosaurus!

Playing: N.O.V.A., NFS:S, CoD:Z, CoI:WoL, TTR3 (so many abbreviations!)
06-24-2009, 06:03 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: New Orleans, USA
Posts: 246
Love it. That is classic.

Bill Nye commenting on iPhone stuff. You just know he's exactly accurate, too.

I wonder if he has an opinion on Rolando or Blue Attack?