Phase-change materials in anti icing applications

A novel hybrid anti-icing surface combines an aqueous self-lubricating coating and phase-change materials that release a large amount of energy as latent heat.

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

The ability of phase change materials (PCMs) to absorb and release large amounts of latent heat has led to great interest in their use in anti-icing applications. Combining PCMs and other passive icephobic strategies such as self-lubricating coatings could enhance anti-icing performance. Now, an icephobic coating was fabricated by impregnating an elastomeric matrix containing PEG-PDMS copolymers with PCM microcapsules.

Reducing ice adhesion

Various concentrations of microcapsules were added into the self-lubricated PDMS coating and 2.5 wt% of hydroxyl-terminated PEG-PDMS copolymer. Differential scanning calorimetry confirms that the PCM-embedded coating has colder ice nucleation temperatures than the self-lubricating coatings lacking microcapsules. The release of latent heat by the PCMs likely preserves the liquid-like layer for a more extended time and delays ice nucleation. Accordingly, the presence of PCM microcapsules can positively affect self-lubricating characteristics of the matrix containing the PEG-PDMS copolymer to further reducing ice adhesion as the presence of a liquid-like layer lowers ice adhesion strength and decreases ice accumulation on surfaces.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 177, April 2023.

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