Researchers report breakthrough in ice-repelling materials
Icy weather is blamed for multibillion dollar losses every year alone in the United States, including delays and damage related to air travel, infrastructure and power generation and transmission facilities. Finding effective, durable and environmentally stable de-icing materials has been stymied by the stubborn tenacity with which ice adheres to the materials on which it forms.
Durable silicone polymer coating
Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a new theory in physics called stress localisation, which they used to tune and predict the properties of new materials. Based on those predictions, the researchers reported in Materials Horizons that they have created a durable silicone polymer coating capable of repelling ice from any surface.
“We have developed a new physical concept and the corresponding icephobic material that shows extremely low ice adhesion while having long-term mechanical, chemical and environmental durability,” they wrote.
The material, which is applied as a spray, can be used on any surface, and testing showed it is not only mechanically durable and unaffected by ultraviolet rays – important for aircraft which face constant sun exposure – but also does not change the aircraft’s aerodynamic performance. Testing indicates it will last for more than 10 years, with no need to reapply.
Further information can be found on the University of Houston website.