Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

A predictive framework for the design and fabrication of icephobic polymers

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Science Advances  22 Sep 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 9, e1701617
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701617

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Abstract

Ice accretion remains a costly, hazardous concern worldwide. Icephobic coatings reduce the adhesion between ice and a surface. However, only a handful of the icephobic systems reported to date reduce the ice adhesion sufficiently for the facile and passive removal of ice, such as under its own weight or by mild winds. Most of these icephobic surfaces have relied on sacrificial lubricants, which may be depleted over time, drastically raising the ice adhesion. In contrast, surfaces that use interfacial slippage to lower their adhesion to ice can remain icephobic indefinitely. However, the mechanism of interfacial slippage, as it relates to ice adhesion, is largely unexplored. We investigate how interfacial slippage reduces the ice adhesion of polymeric materials. We propose a new, universally applicable framework that may be used to predict the reduction in the adhesion of ice to surfaces exhibiting interfacial slippage. This framework allows one to rationally engender icephobicity in essentially any polymeric system, including common thermoplastics. Hence, we present several new, extremely icephobic systems fabricated from a wide range of materials, including everyday engineering plastics and sustainable, natural oils.

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