Imagine the ice and snow during winter sliding off your roof on their own, now wouldn’t that be fantastic? Researchers from the University of Houston have created a type of polymer coating which is capable of repelling ice from any surfaces.
In the United States alone, billions of dollars are lost every year due to icy weather. This includes damages to infrastructure, transportation, as well as and power generation and transmission facilities.
It is hard to find effective, durable and stable ice proof materials on the market. This is because ice tends to stubbornly adhere to the materials which cause a build-up of ice that can easily corrode and damage surfaces.
Previously several types of research were also reported to develop ice-proof materials. However, after rounds of testing, those materials, like other existing ice-repelling materials have not been able to completely overcome the problem of ice which sticks to surfaces and has issues on durability.
Now, there is an ice-proof spray that can completely protect surfaces against ice.
Introducing the New Ice-Proof Spray
The material was described to have “extremely low ice adhesion while having long-term mechanical, chemical and environmental durability.” It can last for more than 10 years without the need to apply again.
It uses the concept of elastic energy localization. When the ice meets the material, it will trigger cracks to form at the interface which will then cause the ice to slide off the surface.
The material, which is applied as a spray, can be utilized on any surface. After testing, it was found that the material was not only mechanically durable; it also cannot be affected by ultraviolet rays from the sun.
The breakthrough in the ice-repelling can have a great impact on infrastructure and technology. It can also be used on aircraft and was proven not to affect their aerodynamic performance.
Theory Behind the Ice-Proofing
The new material was made using a new theory in physics called stress localization. With this theory, researchers were able to tune and predict the properties of new materials.
The theory can also be used to predict materials with other properties, such as antibacterial or other desirable characteristics.
“You put in the properties you want, and the principle will tell you what material you need to synthesize,” says Hadi Ghasemi, one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at University of Houston.
Ghasemi added that their findings also suggest a new approach in the search for new materials without the arduous trial and error method.