Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new spin on antifreeze

12.06.2012
Researchers create ultra slippery anti-ice and anti-frost surfaces
A team of researchers from Harvard University have invented a way to keep any metal surface free of ice and frost. The treated surfaces quickly shed even tiny, incipient condensation droplets or frost simply through gravity. The technology prevents ice sheets from developing on surfaces—and any ice that does form, slides off effortlessly.

The discovery, published online as a just-accepted-manuscript in ACS Nano on June 10, has direct implications for a wide variety of metal surfaces such as those used in refrigeration systems, wind turbines, aircraft, marine vessels, and the construction industry.

The group, led by Joanna Aizenberg, Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, previously introduced the idea that it was possible to create a surface that completely prevented ice with ice-repellent coatings, inspired by the water repellent lotus leaf. Yet this technique can fail under high humidity as the surface textures become coated with condensation and frost.

“The lack of any practical way to eliminate the intrinsic defects and inhomogeneities that contribute to liquid condensation, pinning, freezing, and strong adhesion, have raised the question of whether any solid surface (irrespective of its topography or treatment) can ever be truly ice-preventive, especially at high-humidity, frost-forming conditions,” Aizenberg said.

To combat this problem, the researchers recently invented a radically different technology that is suited for both high humidity and extreme pressure, called SLIPS (Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surfaces). SLIPS are designed to expose a defect-free, molecularly flat liquid interface, immobilized by a hidden nanostructured solid. On these ultra smooth slippery surfaces fluids and solids alike—including water drops, condensation, frost, and even solid ice—can slide off easily.

The challenge was to apply this technology to metal surfaces, especially as these materials are ubiquitous in our modern world, from airplane wings to railings. Aizenberg and her team developed a way to coat the metal with a rough material that the lubricant can adhere to. The coating can be finely sculpted to lock in the lubricant and can be applied over a large scale, on arbitrarily shaped metal surfaces. In addition, the coating is non-toxic and anti-corrosive.

To demonstrate the robustness of the technology, the researchers successfully applied it to refrigerator cooling fins and tested it under a prolonged, deep freeze condition. Compared to existing “frost-free” cooling systems, their innovation completely prevented frost far more efficiently and for a longer time.

“Unlike lotus leaf-inspired icephobic surfaces, which fail under high humidity conditions, SLIPS-based icephobic materials, as our results suggest, can completely prevent ice formation at temperatures slightly below 0°C while dramatically reducing ice accumulation and adhesion under deep freezing, frost-forming conditions,” said Aizenberg.

In addition to allowing for the efficient removal of ice, the technology lowers the energy costs associated by several orders of magnitude. Thus, the readily scalable approach to slippery metallic surfaces holds great promise for broad application in the refrigeration and aviation industry and in other high-humidity environments where an icephobic surface is desirable.

For example, once their technology is applied to a surface, ice on roofs, wires, outdoor signs, and wind turbines could be easily removed merely by tilting, slight agitation, or even wind and vibrations.

"This new approach to icephobic materials is a truly disruptive idea that offers a way to make a transformative impact on energy and safety costs associated with ice, and we are actively working with the refrigeration and aviation industries to bring it to market," said Aizenberg.

Aizenberg is also Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard. Her co-authors included Philseok Kim, a Technology Development Fellow at the Wyss Institute and SEAS; Tak-Sing Wong of the Wyss Institute and SEAS; Jack Alvarenga of the Wyss Institute; Michael J. Kreder of the Wyss Institute; and Wilmer E. Adorno-Martinez of University of Puerto Rico.

The authors received support from the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Harvard under NSF award #DMR-1005022. Part of this work was performed at the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) at Harvard supported under NSF award #ECS-0335765. In addition, the team acknowledges the Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship; the REU BRIDGE, co-funded by the ASSURE program of the DoD in partnership with the NSF REU Site program under NSF Grant #DMR-1005022.

Michael Patrick Rutter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.seas.harvard.edu
http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news-events/press-releases/a-new-spin-on-antifreeze

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light
05.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
01.12.2016 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Speed data for the brain’s navigation system

06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization

06.12.2016 | Life Sciences

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>