Sebaceous gland-inspired de-icing coating

Researchers have presented a self-lubricated de-icing coating that is continuously secreting lubricants and has been inspired by sebaceous glands.

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).

Oily sebum secreted by sebaceous glands lubricates and moisturises our skin, and can be reproduced continuously even after daily cleaning. In a new work, inspired by sebaceous glands, a self-lubricant (SL) coating with ultra-low ice adhesion and excellent deicing durability was designed via continuously secreting lubricants. To determine the suitable simulant of oily sebum, the tribological tests and theoretical simulation analysis of lubricant on ice were conducted, confirming the effect of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) lubricants.

New vision of designing durable icephobic materials

By well mixing lubricant and resin, and sebaceous glands-like structures formed in coating matrix after curing, which endowed coating with lubricant storage feature and sebum-like secretion structure. The affinity of PDMS molecules to ice and the regeneration of lubricant film ensured the deicing durability of coating. Ice adhesion strength can be kept below 100 kPa even after 100 icing-deicing cycles, and can recover low ice adhesion strength (~50 kPa) via lubricant secreting. According to the reseachers, their work highlights the importance of lubricant selection and gives a new vision of designing durable icephobic materials.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 174, January 2023.

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