ANN ARBOR – The new class of coatings, which seamlessly rejects ice from even large surfaces, has moved researchers closer to their long-standing goal of ships, airplanes, power lines, and other large structures that are resistant to ice.
Sprayed coatings developed at the University of Michigan cause the ice to drop out of structures – regardless of their size – only with the power of light breezes or often with the weight of ice itself. A study paper was published in science,
When testing a power cord layout, the coating immediately discards the ice.
Researchers have overcome the major limitation of previous ice-repellent coatings – while they worked well in small areas, researchers found in terrain that they did not throw ice on very large surfaces as efficiently as they had hoped. This is a problem because ice usually causes the biggest problems on the largest surfaces – the suction efficiency, threatening safety and demanding expensive removal.
They removed this obstacle with a "beautiful demonstration of mechanics". Anish Tuteya, an associate professor of material science and engineering, describes how he and his colleagues turned to a property that is not well known in the icy studies.
"Over decades, coating research has focused on reducing adhesion – the power of a unit of area needed to break ice on the surface," says Tuteja. "The problem with this strategy is that the larger the ice sheet, the more force we need, we find that we are struggling within the limits of low adhesion strength and our coatings become ineffective once the surface has become big enough."
The new coatings solve the problem by introducing a second strategy: low interfacial strength, abbreviated LIT. Surfaces with low interfacial strength promote the formation of cracks between the ice and the surface. In contrast to breaking the surface of the ice sheet, which requires free tearing of the entire sheet, the crack only breaks the surface along its leading edge. Once this crack starts, it can spread rapidly over the entire ice surface, regardless of its size.
"Imagine pulling a carpet on the floor," says Michael Toulouse, professor of engineering in engineering, Janine Johnson Wines. The bigger the carpet, the harder it is to move. Resistant to the power of the entire interface between the carpet and the floor. The friction force is analogous to the interfacial force.
"Now imagine that there is wrinkles in this mat. It's easy to keep pushing the wrinkles through the carpet, no matter how big the carpet is. The resistance to wrinkle spread is similar to interfacial strength that opposes the spread of a crack. "
Thouless stated that the concept of intermediate hardness is well known in the field of fracture mechanics, where it maintains products such as laminated surfaces and adhesive bases. But so far it has not been used to mitigate the ice. The preliminary time came when Thouless learned about Tuteja's previous work and saw an opportunity.
"Traditionally, fracture mechanics researchers are only interested in interfacial endurance, and ice-cooling researchers are often only interested in interfacial strength," says Thouless. But the two parameters are important for understanding adhesion.
"I pointed out to Anish that if he had to test the rising lengths of the ice, he would find that the load would rise until the surface strength would be important but then the plateau once the strength became important. a really beautiful demonstration of mechanics and a new concept of ice sticking. "
To test the idea, Tuteja's team used a technique that improved during previous coating studies. By mapping the properties of a large library of substances and adding interphase strength, as well as the grip strength to the equation, they were able to predict the mathematical properties of the coating without the need to physically test each one. This allows them to invent a wide variety of combinations, each with a specific balance between interfacial strength and adhesion strength.
They tested a variety of coatings on large surfaces – a solid aluminum sheet with a 3-foot square and a flexible aluminum section about 1 inch wide and 3 feet long to imitate power lines. On every surface the ice fell immediately due to its own weight. However, it quickly hit the control surfaces, which are identical in size – one is uncoated and the other covered with an earlier leefop coating.
The next step of the team is to improve the durability of LIT coatings.
The document is titled "Materials with Low Interfacial Hardness for Effective Degreasing of Large Sizes". In addition to Tuteja and Thouless, the team includes U-M macromolecular scientific and engineering researcher Abhishek Dhyani and former U-M material and science and engineering Ph.D. pupil Kevin Golovin. The study is funded by the Military Studies Office, the Air Force Research Office and the National Science Foundation and the Nano-Production Program (grant No 1351412).
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of the news posted on EurekAlert! through contributing institutions or using any information through the EurekAlert system.