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 [futurity.org]. 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 [doi.org].
Essentially, the rubbery coating jiggles and shakes the ice off.