Innovation That Matters

Rubbery coating prevents machines from freezing over


Researchers have developed an ice-repellent spray, that could be applied to airplanes and other machinery to stop them from freezing over.


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Winter weather can wreak havoc with flight schedules. We recently wrote about a de-icing concrete that could be used at airports to prevent cancellations, and now researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an ice-repellent spray, which could be applied to airplanes — and other machinery — to prevent them from freezing over.

The “icephobic” coating is made of common synthetic rubbers and could provide a green alternative to chemical melting agents or costly defrosting systems. When sprayed onto a solid surface, the substance, because of its rubbery texture, uses interfacial cavitation to repel the ice. As a result, it is significantly easier to remove ice that forms on the surface because the two materials do not bond to each other.

The researchers envision the spray being used on freezers, wind turbines or oil rigs. What other applications are there for the “icephobic” coating?



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