A feasible approach for designing multilayer anti icing systems

Reseachers have presented a scalable high-efficiency multilayered anti-icing/de-icing coating: A superhydrophobic upper layer boosts the performance of a electrothermal system.

A snow-covered aircraft.
PCM-impregnated coatings offer potential uses for diverse icephobic applications.  Image source:  Kihyuck Kim - Pixabay (symbol image).

The formation and accumulation of ice can easily cause serious safety issues and damage. A superhydrophobic surface can delay ice formation due to its liquid repellence feature, but does not work very well under super cold temperatures. An electrothermal coating can effectively prevent ice formation, while it is very energy-consuming. Now, a multilayered system that combined an electrothermal layer (ET) with an energy-saving superhydrophobic layer (SH) (SH@ET system) was fabricated to improve the energy efficiency of anti-icing/de-icing coatings. A programmable automatic spraying machine was used to prepare the graphene nanoplates (GNP)-based electrothermal coating with controllable electrical resistance and excellent electrothermal performance.

Large-area applications

After spraying the SH layer, the SH@ET coating showed excellent water repellency, superior anti-icing performance, and extremely low ice adhesion strength (15 kPa). During the anti-icing test, there was no ice accumulation on the surface of the assembled SH@ET system even under low power (0.5 W) at −19 °C for 20 min, confirming its practical application prospects. The SH@ET system also exhibited superior deicing performance compared to the ET coating. An obvious difference appeared at a low applied voltage range, under which ice continuously formed on the surface of ET coating, while no ice formed on the SH layer. The results can be ascribed to the better water repellency and low ice adhesion strength of the SH layer. According to the researchers, their work provides a feasible approach for designing multilayer anti-/de-icing systems for practical large-area applications.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 168, July 2022.

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