Preventing the havoc wrought when freezing rain collects on roads, power lines, and aircrafts could be only a few nanometers away. A University of Pittsburgh-led team demonstrates in the Nov. 3 edition of “Langmuir” a nanoparticle-based coating developed in the lab of Di Gao, a chemical and petroleum engineering professor in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering, that thwarts the buildup of ice on solid surfaces and can be easily applied.
The paper, by lead author and Pitt doctoral student Liangliang Cao, presents the first evidence of anti-icing properties for a burgeoning class of water repellants-including the Pitt coating-known as superhydrophobic coatings. These thin films mimic the rutted surface of lotus leaves by creating microscopic ridges that reduce the surface area to which water can adhere. But the authors note that because ice behaves differently than water, the ability to repulse water cannot be readily applied to ice inhibition. Cao's coauthors include Gao, Jianzhong Wu, a chemical engineering professor at the University of California at Riverside, and Andrew Jones and Vinod Sikka of Ross Technology Corporation of Leola, Pa.
The team found that superhydrophobic coatings must be specifically formulated to ward off ice buildup. Gao and his team created different batches made of a silicone resin-solution combined with nanoparticles of silica ranging in size from 20 nanometers to 20 micrometers, at the largest. They applied each variant to aluminum plates then exposed the plates to supercooled water (-20 degrees Celsius) to simulate freezing rain.
Cao writes in “Langmuir” that while each compound containing silica bits of 10-or-fewer micrometers deflected water, only those with silica pieces less than 50 nanometers in size completely prevented icing. The minute surface area of the smaller fragments means they make minimal contact with the water. Instead, the water mostly touches the air pockets between the particles and falls away without freezing. Though not all superhydrophobic coatings follow the Pitt recipe, the researchers conclude that every type will have a different particle-scale for repelling ice than for repelling water.
Gao tested the coating with 50-nanometer particles outdoors in freezing rain to determine its real-world potential. He painted one side of an aluminum plate and left the other side untreated. The treated side had very little ice, while the untreated side was completely covered. He produced similar results on a commercial satellite dish where the glossed half of the dish had no ice and the other half was encrusted.
A video available on Pitt's Web site shows an aluminum plate glazed with Gao's superhydrophobic coating (left) repelling the supercooled water. For the uncoated plate (right), the water freezes on contact and ice accumulates. The video can be accessed at www.pitt.edu/news2009/ice.html
The “Langmuir” paper is available on Pitt's Web site at www.pitt.edu/news2009/DiGao.pdf
Morgan Kelly | EurekAlert!
Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine