Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New material could make aircraft deicers a thing of the past


Instead of applying a deicing agent to strip ice from an aircraft's wings before stormy winter takeoffs, airport personnel could in the future just watch chunks slide right off without lifting a finger. Scientists report they have developed a liquid-like substance that can make wings and other surfaces so slippery that ice cannot adhere. The slick substance is secreted from a film on the wing's surface as temperatures drop below freezing and retreats back into the film as temperatures rise.

The researchers present their work today at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world's largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features more than 12,500 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

SLUGs coatings on the right three panels at a test station repel snow and ice, but snow builds up on an untreated panel (far left).

Credit: Chihiro Urata

The liquid-secreting materials the researchers developed are called self-lubricating organogels, or SLUGs. "The SLUGs technology has a host of formulations and applications, including in a gel form that can be encapsulated in a film coating on the surface of a wing or other device," says research director Atsushi Hozumi, Ph.D.

"We came upon this idea when we observed real slugs in the environment," Chihiro Urata, Ph.D., explains. "Slugs live underground in soils when it is daytime and crawl out at night. But we never see slugs covered in dirt. They secrete a liquid mucus on their skin, which repels dirt, and the dirt slides off. From this, we started focusing on the phenomenon called syneresis, the expulsion of liquid from a gel."

... more about:
»ACS »coating »liquids »physical effects

The gel and the liquid-repellent substance are held in a matrix of silicone resin. The mix is cured and applied to a surface as a nearly transparent and solid film coating, Urata explains. Both Urata and Hozumi are at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (Japan).

The team examined the anti-icing properties of several types of organogels under tests at various temperatures, Urata says. The discovery of the material's thermo-responsive secretion properties was an unexpected surprise. The tests also showed that the secretion was a reversible process. The syneresis gradually starts when temperatures fall below freezing. So although ice can still form, it cannot adhere to the surface and it slips off. Once the temperature rises above freezing, the liquids return back to the film.

Urata sees potential applications for SLUGs beyond aircraft and singles out antifouling coatings in packaging, paints, ship bottoms, metal molds and more.

Their research is currently focusing on increasing the transparency of the SLUG's coating, Urata says. "We are planning a short-term project to apply the coating where transparency is essential. For example, we are just beginning a project to field-test the durability and visibility of SLUGs coating on signage in Japan's northern counties."


Their research is funded through a grant-in-aid for scientific research on innovative areas from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact

Note to journalists: Please report that this research is being presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Follow us: Twitter | Facebook


Anti-Stick Coatings Using Self-Lubricating Organogels (SLUGs)


Functional coatings with exceptional surface properties, such as liquid-repellency and low-friction/adhesion, have been commonly prepared by combining textured surfaces with long-chain perfluorinated compounds. However, unfortunately, the chemical and physical effects of the LPFCs on human health and environment have been viewed lately with concern. In addition, once such artificial surfaces are physically and chemically damaged, they permanently lose their surface properties. In contrast, some living things maintain their surface properties through secretion of plant waxes and mucus. Here, we report on novel coatings inspired by such biological systems. To realize long-lasting surface properties, we have particularly focused on the syneresis of organogels, which were prepared by hydrosilylation of 2 types of silicones, and several guest organic liquids. As compatibility between guest liquids and polymer matrixes (cross-linked polydimethylsiloxane) is decreased to a certain critical point which is induced by the chemical and/or physical effects, the guest liquids begins to gradually leach out to the outmost organogel surface. Thanks to this self-lubricating property, adhesion of various objects was effectively reduced, resulting in the excellent anti-sticking properties. Viscous liquids flowed on the syneretic organogel surface more freely than that of non-syneretic organogel surface. For the purpose of anti-icing applications, we tuned the critical incompatibility point our organogels, which possess reversible thermo-responsive secretion nature. In this case, the syneresis gradually starts when the temperature is cooled (< 0°C) and the syneresis liquids returns back into the organogel again by heating to room temperature. Thanks to this smart surface property, an ice-pillar formed on the organogel at -15°C easily slid off without any additional force. Furthermore, we have successfully demonstrated regeneration of superhydrophobicity artificially mimicking lotus leaves using n-octadecyltrichlorosilane as an active guest liquid. Our technique, demonstrated here, undoubtedly shows great potential for application in dynamic, multifunctional, and self-recovering coatings.

Media Contact

619-525-6215 (San Diego Press Center, March 13-16)

Michael Bernstein
202-872-6042 (D.C. Office)
301-275-3221 (Cell)

Katie Cottingham, Ph.D.
301-775-8455 (Cell)


Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: ACS coating liquids physical effects

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>