Option 3: Anti-Fog Coating from the Manufacturer
Does anti-fog coating guarantee a perfect solution to visor fogging? Well, yes, but, it is important to note that this is not a permanent anti-fog coating. In most cases, anti-fog coating from the manufacturer does not last for more than 1 to 2 years. Frankly, this is still a better solution than the anti-fog sprays where you have to reapply after 24 to 72 hours.
The most popular product is the hydrophilic anti-fog coating. It is Professor Gaétan Laroche from the Université Laval who pioneered the use of hydrophilic ingredients to guarantee a permanent anti-fog solution. During their research, they used the polyvinyl alcohol, which is a hydrophilic compound. Since then, hydrophilic ingredients are a perfect choice for motorcycle visor manufacturers who want a “permanent” anti-fog solution.
How “Permanent” Anti-fog Coating Works
This is an eco-friendly anti-fog solution that depends on molecular interaction to eliminate fogging on the motorcycle helmet visors. Once a helmet visor has a hydrophilic coating, it will reduce the surface tension of water droplets. By doing so, it forces water droplets to spread into a thin clear and transparent film.
Two surfaces: one coated with hydrophilic ingredients and the other without.
It is basically a continuous thin film that allows maximum light transmission. Furthermore, it eliminates other phenomena such as diffraction or refraction of light that may reduce visibility. Remember, the irregular shapes of water droplets (fog) are responsible for the loss of light transmission and distortion hence, blurred vision. The working principle of hydrophilic anti-fog coating depends on the ingredients’ high affinity for water molecules. That is, they attract water molecules, thereby reducing the surface tension force.
In most cases, the helmet visor manufacturer may use different grades or quality of hydrophilic ingredients depending on the geographical location. Remember, it is the variation in temperature and humidity that causes fogging. The good thing about hydrophilic anti-fog coating is that it can withstand being washed several times within 1 to 2 years. It saves motorcyclists the repetitive process of applying anti-fog spray every time.
Applying Hydrophilic Anti-fog Coating on Helmet Visor
Unlike the anti-fog spray, the manufacturer applies the coating for you. They closely monitor and apply the right layer of hydrophilic ingredients on the inside section of the helmet visor. Quite a number of manufacturers use either flow coating or dip coating. Of course, there are those that use spraying technique.
Again, they can use UV curing or thermo curing. This is to ensure an even and high quality drying of the hydrophilic anti-fog coating. Moreover, during this process, the manufacturer may also incorporate other helmet visor technologies. All these aim to guarantee optical class 1 properties. In short, the difference between anti-fog spray and anti-fog coating is that the latter is more durable.
We’ve covered three different types of anti-fog solutions to choose from. Still, there is one more option you can also consider…
Option 4: Pinlock Anti-Fog Visor Insert
Pinlock technology is quite unique and different from the sprays and coatings. It’s also a popular permanent anti-fog solution. The term Pinlock refers to a flexible and small plastic that you will place on the inner surface of the main helmet visor. It should have Pinlock features, i.e. sections that will fit on the helmet visor pins. See pic below. Can you see the curved in sections at the two opposite ends of the visor inserts?
Different types of Pinlock visor inserts
Now you can look at your helmet visor too (see image below). The part with the red circle is actually the Pinlock pin system. In short, you can install any of the above visor inserts on the helmet visor (below). The final surface will prevent any possible fogging.
Design of Pinlock Anti-fog Visor Insert System
Since Derek Arnold began developing a Pinlock system in 1978 there have been consistent improvements and innovations in the industry. Ideally, the Pinlock visor insert is a small piece of material with moisture absorbing properties. Around its edges, there is a silicone gasket that forms an airtight seal after installation.
Another critical component of this accessory is the Pinlock pin system for easy and fast installation. It also allows riders to adjust the tension of the visor inserts. In short, these are the main components that make up a Pinlock system for helmet visors. Now, let’s see how it eliminates fog.
How Pinlock Ant-fog Visor Insert Prevents Fogging
Once you install the Pinlock anti-fog visor insert to fit correctly in these pins, the silicon will seal sections around it. After installation, the helmet visor and insert will trap air that acts as an insulator. The double wall system will create an effective anti-fog barrier. These results in effective anti-fog surface due to the efficient absorption properties of the visor insert and double glazed surface. Remember, the pin system not only holds the visor insert in position, but helps to push it in the right position.
It is important to note that not all Pinlock anti-fog visor inserts can fit any helmet. In most cases, motorcycle helmet manufacturers tend to customize their Pinlock products to fit their own helmets. The Pinlock anti-fog visor insert passes all the possible anti-fog tests, and is an effective technology that eliminates any possible fogging phenomenon. It
However, there are some challenges when it comes to Pinlock anti-fog visor inserts:
- Only a few visors come with the pin system, hence a challenge to many motorcycle riders. They only fit specific models.
- They are more expensive than the normal motorcycle visors and inserts without pins
Now it’s your turn, which anti-fog solution do you think guarantees value for your money?