A promising self-assembly PTFE coating for effective large-scale deicing

An electrostatic attraction self-assembly method was used successfully for the fabrication of thin PTFE coating, which could be a promising material for large-scale deicing.

Icing is dangerous for aircraft.  Image source:  confused_me - Pixabay (symbol image).

Ice accretion is detrimental for the safety of transmission lines, aircraft, and buildings, which may also result in economic loss. In the study, a thin polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating on a aluminum substrate was fabricated by electrostatic attraction self-assembly technique and proposed for large-scale deicing application. The shear-force Fice analysis on deicing and related ice adhesion was conducted while interfacial toughness between solid-ice interfaces was also measured. Moreover, the surface morphology, wettability of the PTFE coated aluminum plate was also characterised.

Promising material for large-scale deicing

It was observed that the critical bonded length Lc between ice and PTFE coated surface is about 2.85 cm. When the bonded length L was higher than this value, the shear-force of dislodging ice could stay constant at about 50 N for the first deicing cycle. From the second deicing cycle, the constant shear-force was increased to 70 N and kept constant for at least ten cycles. Meanwhile, the surface roughness and water contact angle kept on increasing along with the loss of PTFE nanoparticles during icing-deicing cycles.

Ultimately, An ice layer with the size of 98 cm × 96 cm×1 cm (l × w × h) was developed on the surface of PTFE coated aluminum substrate for the demonstration of its fracture and falling off under ice’s weight.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 147, October 2020.

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