from the give-them-the-slip-off dept.
On your car windshield, ice is a nuisance. But on an airplane, wind turbine, oil rig, or power line, it can be downright dangerous. And removing it with current methods—usually chemical melting agents or labor-intensive scrapers and hammers—is difficult and expensive work.
But a new durable and inexpensive ice-repellent coating could change that. Thin, clear, and slightly rubbery to the touch, the spray-on formula could make ice slide off equipment, airplanes, and car windshields with only the force of gravity or a gentle breeze.
Researchers say the discovery could have major implications in industries like energy, shipping, and transportation, where ice is a constant problem in cold climates.
The coating could also lead to big energy savings in freezers, which today rely on complex and energy-hungry defrosting systems to stay frost-free. An ice-repelling coating could do the same job with zero energy consumption, making household and industrial freezers up to 20 percent more efficient. The paper is published in the journal Science Advances [open, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501496].
Essentially, the rubbery coating jiggles and shakes the ice off.
A University of Michigan researcher has created a coating that could be used to repel water, oil, and other substances:
In an advance that could grime-proof phone screens, countertops, camera lenses and countless other everyday items, a materials science researcher at the University of Michigan has demonstrated a smooth, durable, clear coating that swiftly sheds water, oils, alcohols and, yes, peanut butter.
Called "omniphobic" in materials science parlance, the new coating repels just about every known liquid. It's the latest in a series of breakthrough coatings from the lab of Anish Tuteja, U-M associate professor of materials science and engineering. The team's earlier efforts produced durable coatings that repelled ice and water, and a more fragile omniphobic coating. The new omniphobic coating is the first that's durable and clear. Easily applied to virtually any surface, it's detailed in a paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Tuteja envisions the new coating as a way to prevent surfaces from getting grimy, both in home and industry. It could work on computer displays, tables, floors and walls, for example.
[...] Ultimately, the team discovered that a mix of fluorinated polyurethane and a specialized fluid-repellent molecule called F-POSS would do the job. Their recipe forms a mixture that can be sprayed, brushed, dipped or spin-coated onto a wide variety of surfaces, where it binds tightly. While the surface can be scratched by a sharp object, it's durable in everyday use. And its extremely precise level of phase separation makes it optically clear.
Just what I needed for my keyboard, VR headset, countertop, toilet bowl, 1 gallon mayonnaise jar, t-shirts, patio deck, sailing ship, the inside of all of my body's cells, and synthetic killer bacteria.
Smooth, All-Solid, Low-Hysteresis, Omniphobic Surfaces with Enhanced Mechanical Durability (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b00521) (DX)