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Ice Phobic Coatings for Wind Tower Blades and Structures


By Rob Thomaier, NuSil Technology, LLC

Presented at SSPC 2013; Session: Green Evolution II; Session chair: Steve Reinstadler

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Ice build-up on wind power blades can affect efficiency by reducing the aerodynamics of the blades. The sudden release of ice through centripetal force can result in dangerous projectiles in the large chunks of released ice. Moreover, icing of the wind structures can add additional mass to the structure, causing stress on supporting members and shortening the structure’s life span—strains which can culminate in catastrophic failure. Ice phobic coatings aid in the release of ice and can minimize ice build-up.

A silicone coating can be evaluated as an ice phobic coating via certain test methods. Zero Degree Cone testing as performed by the US Army’s Cold Region Research and Engineering Laboratory indicates silicones can offer significant improvement, compared to other materials, in the release of ice from surfaces. The Zero Degree Cone Test measures the force required to push a coated pin from an ice mold. Additional ice adhesion testing performed at Nusil Technology indicates different silicones offer different ice release characteristics. This test method measures the shear force required to pull an ice mold off a test panel. Analysis of silicone coatings and their ice phobic characteristics will be presented in this paper.

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