University Develops New Ice-Shedding Coating


Researchers from the University of Houston have recently announced that its new sprayable ice-shedding material is 100 times stronger than other coatings.

The coating was developed by Hadi Ghasemi, Cullen Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, alongside doctoral student Sina Nazifi. The report has since been published in the journal Materials Horizons.

Coating Development

According to the university, 12% of all weather-related air disasters from 1990 to 2000 were due to icing. Additionally, in the power industry, icing in transmission systems can lead to collapse of poles and towers, rupture of conductors and flashover of insulators.

To combat these dangers, a wide range of materials with ice-shedding materials have been developed, but tend to have very low durability. This can limit their effectiveness.

“The primary challenge in developing ice-shedding materials is finding materials with both low ice adhesion and good durability,” said Ghasemi. However, his new material reportedly provides both characteristics.

Describe as a “fracture-controlled material,” the new coating utilizes the concept that for detachment of any external solid object from a surface, such as ice from an airplane wing, force must be applied. That force will inevitably lead to formation of cracks at the interface, which will grow until full detachment of the object from the surface.

Ghasemi explained that this detachment could be accurately controlled and accelerated.

“We developed a new concept in which, through material design, you can significantly accelerate the crack formation and growth and easily remove external objects from the surface. This concept is implemented to develop materials that are highly durable, and ice does not attach to these materials,” reported Ghasemi.

“Fracture-controlled surfaces provide a rich material platform to guide future innovation of materials with minimal adhesion while having very high durability.”

The new coating material has reportedly been tested by Boeing under erosive rain conditions at 385 miles per hour. During this testing, the coating outperformed current state-of-the-art aerospace coating technologies.

The university reports that this new fundamental concept of fracture-controlled materials offers innovations in materials for aerospace, wind energy and other industrial and commercial applications where icing is an issue. According to the researchers, ice buildup on wind turbines could lead to an 80% drop in power generation which could be avoided through these new coating materials.

Other Anti-Icing Coatings

In January, a research team from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) in Moscow tested hydrophobic coatings and their effectiveness combined with other anti-icing systems. Researchers at Skoltech then decided to test the surface wettability of aluminum in aircraft skin and see if it affects the performance of these fluids.

Three different types of fluids, which satisfied aerospace standards SAE AMS1424 or AMS1428, were tested. Each fluid type, including Type I, II and IV had different endurance times. Aluminum plates were sanded, polished and coated with a hydrophilic transparent, glossy or matte acrylic varnish.

In contrast to a Canadian team’s findings, they discovered that plate wettability had no impact on the performance of anti-icing fluids, but attribute this finding to the surface tension and viscosity of anti-icing fluids. Researchers also noted that surface roughness could play a role, since rough surfaces take longer to accumulate ice.

According to Skoltech, the study showed that the accumulation of liquid in the surface texture reduces the water-repellent properties of hydrophobic coatings.

In April, researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago announced that they developed environmentally safe, frost-resistant coatings for the aerospace industry. The study, authored by Sushant Anand, UIC assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Rukmava Chatterjee, a UIC PhD student, was published in Advanced Materials.

The team developed a family of more than 80 anti-freezing coatings, which can be classified as polymeric solutions, emulsions, creams and gels. Without preconditioning or surface treatments, these formulations can reportedly be applied to aluminum, steel, copper, glass, plastic or other industrial surfaces.

UIC reported that the coatings are a family of phase change material-based formulations and multifunctional coatings, tailored for solid foulant adhesion on functional surfaces. This ranges from ice to bacteria, regardless of their inherent material structure and chemistry.


Tagged categories: Aerospace; Asia Pacific; Coating Materials; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Coatings technology; Colleges and Universities; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); icephobic; Latin America; North America; Research and development; Z-Continents

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