Low–interfacial toughness materials for effective large-scale deicing

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Science  26 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6438, pp. 371-375
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav1266

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Easy ice removal

The accumulation of ice on a surface can lead to hazardous conditions, such as on the surface of an airplane wing or the side of a tall building. Ice adhesion, even to a surface treated to minimize the bonded force, will usually depend on the amount of surface coverage. Golovin et al. compared strength-limited deicing with toughness-limited deicing. Whereas normal deicing materials focus on minimizing the adhesion strength, the authors show that if a material is designed with low-adhesion toughness, deicing is no longer a function of the coverage area.

Science, this issue p. 371


Ice accretion has adverse effects on a range of commercial and residential activities. The force required to remove ice from a surface is typically considered to scale with the iced area. This imparts a scalability limit to the use of icephobic coatings for structures with large surface areas, such as power lines or ship hulls. We describe a class of materials that exhibit a low interfacial toughness with ice, resulting in systems for which the forces required to remove large areas of ice (a few square centimeters or greater) are both low and independent of the iced area. We further demonstrate that coatings made of such materials allow ice to be shed readily from large areas (~1 square meter) merely by self-weight.

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