Icephobic properties of aqueous self-lubricating coatings

Researchers describe an icephobic aqueous coatings containing PEG-PDMS copolymers. Changing the copolymer percentage results in positive effects on the icephobic characteristics.

A skater in a wintry landscape as a symbolic image.
Scientists have presented a new anti-icing strategy inspired by the skin.  Image source: RobinTheHooded - Pixabay (symbol image).

Icephobic coatings offer an effective solution for protecting infrastructures subjected to harsh cold-weather environments. Aqueous self-lubricating coatings, derived from the principles of ice skate sliding over ice, provide a cost-effective anti-icing method. Researchers have now fabricated aqueous self-lubricating coatings by adding polydimethylsiloxane-poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG-PDMS) copolymers to a PDMS matrix.

Reduced ice adhesion strength

Test results showed that blending PEG-PDMS into the elastomeric matrix enhanced the effective contact area between the water droplet and the coating; the formation of hydrogen bonds between water molecules and the hydrophilic functional groups of the coating produced this effect, and water molecules spread readily over the surface. Increased concentrations of these functional groups increased the freezing-delay time and reduced ice adhesion strength, likely owing to the formation of a quasi-liquid-like layer. An optimised copolymer content of 5% produced a durable icephobic aqueous self-lubricating coating.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 161, December 2021.

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