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
  • Fig. 1 The cross-link density reduction of oil-filled networks.

    (A) Ratio of the apparent swell ratio to the unfilled swell ratio (no oil) for seven different polymer/oil combinations, versus the oil content. The oil content has been normalized by the maximum oil solubility within the cross-linked network for readability purposes only. The solid lines represent Eq. 4. (B) Cross-link density reduction for the same seven polymer/oil combinations.

  • Fig. 2 The surface fraction of oil-filled networks.

    (A) Solid fraction of an oil-filled, cross-linked network versus the oil content within the network. (B) These data collapse when the oil content is normalized by its maximum solubility within the cross-linked material. HO, high-oleic; DUP, diundecyl phthalate.

  • Fig. 3 Icephobic cross-linked networks.

    Ice adhesion strength versus oil content for four different polymer/oil combinations. (A) VF40 filled with MCT oil. (B) VF40 filled with HL SFO. (C) PDMS filled with silicone oil. (D) CF50 filled with DIDA. For all these surfaces, the inputs to Eq. 2 can be found by experimentally measuring ρCL and φs. The measured predictions using Eq. 2 are shown as red squares in (A) to (D).

  • Fig. 4 Icephobic linear polymers.

    (A) PVC plasticized with MCT oil or DIDA showed a good agreement with Eq. 9 and excellent icephobicity after φoil > 0.5. (B) All the icephobic, linear polymers discussed in this work were >98% transparent. Here, we show the transmittance versus wavelength for PVC plasticized with 50 wt % MCT oil. The inset shows an optical image of the same coating. (C) PS became icephobic at very low concentrations of plasticizer but still fit the proposed theory extremely well. (D) An excellent agreement was observed between Eq. 9 and the ice adhesion strength values for the four different polymers plasticized with MCT oil.

  • Fig. 5 Designing icephobic surfaces.

    (A) Phase diagram for icephobic polymers. The regime of possible durability, the green region containing surfaces using interfacial slippage, is bounded by Eqs. 10 and 11. (B) When VF40 was lubricated with four oils of differing solubility, the initial τice values (open symbols) fell within the lubrication regime. Equation 11 precisely predicted the reduction in the values for the ice adhesion strength upon wiping away the free oil layer (closed symbols). (C) For 11 different polymer/plasticizer combinations, our measured reductions in τice for surfaces that exhibited interfacial slippage were always bounded by Eqs. 10 and 11. Note that, for the FPU/HL SFO system, the solid surface energy was lower than the surface tension of the plasticizer. (D) Lubricated elastomers from previous studies can initially achieve ultralow reductions in τice, and the reported τice values correctly lay in the lubrication region predicted by Eq. 11. The data from Zhu et al. (11), recast using the literature τice value for PDMS, is denoted by an asterisk. For the data of Wang et al. (10), only one φoil value was reported, so all the surfaces have been placed at this value.

  • Table 1 The optimal composition and resultant ice adhesion strength for 10 different icephobic polymer/plasticizer combinations fabricated in this work.

    The amount of oil in each system was optimized for both low ice adhesion and good mechanical durability. For a complete list of surfaces, see table S2. PVC, polyvinyl chloride. *The φoilmax values for plasticized PVC and PS were found using a best fit to Eq. 9 and do not represent values obtained by swell tests.

    BaseOil (φoilmax)φoilτice (kPa)
    PDMSSilicone (1.0)0.56.5 ± 1.0
    VF40MCT (0.51)0.44.9 ± 1.8
    VF40HL SFO (0.3)0.154.3 ± 1.0
    VF40Eucalyptus (0.8)0.511 ± 4
    CF50DIDA (0.25)0.250 ± 12
    CF50VF20MCT (0.36)0.359.0 ± 3.0
    PVCMCT (0.9)*0.855.2 ± 2.7
    PVCDIDA (0.86)*0.7516 ± 5
    PSDIDA (0.16)*0.227 ± 6
    PSMCT (0.16)*0.224 ± 8

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at

    Supplementary Text

    table S1. φoilmax for four elastomers and 10 different oils.

    table S2. Ice adhesion data for each plasticized polymer considered in this work.

    fig. S1. Durability of highly plasticized PVC.

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Supplementary Text
    • table S1. Φmaxoil for four elastomers and 10 different oils.
    • table S2. Ice adhesion data for each plasticized polymer considered in this work.
    • fig. S1. Durability of highly plasticized PVC.

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