Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Durable Icephobic Surfaces

Technology #6437

Ice accretion is a major concern for airplane wings, wind turbines, power lines, marine vessels and communications towers. Removal of ice can be a costly procedure, but insufficient removal can be dangerous to people and property. The EPA estimates that more than 25 million gallons of de-icing fluids are used to deice commercial flights each year in the US, costing airlines millions of dollars. Anti-icing coatings are important to improve the efficiency of this process, and the aerospace coatings market is expected to reach $570 million by the year 2020. Durable and efficient anti-ice accretion coatings are needed to ensure safety and efficient removal of ice from airplane wings and other sensitive equipment.

Ultra-low ice adhesion with polymeric coatings

Hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces can be made to be icephobic by using a polymeric anti-ice coating. The polymeric coating has a low crosslink density and embedded cross-linked chains of another polymer with the optimal molecular weight. This coating technique lowers the ice adhesion strength and allows even very hydrophilic surfaces to repel ice. The creation of icephobic surfaces which are durable allow for the development of a variety of structural ice-repelling materials and simple removal of ice and snow from airplanes, wind turbines, power lines and other surfaces.

Applications:

  • Aerospace
  • Wind turbines
  • Power lines
  • Marine vessels
  • Communication towers
  • Wind shield coatings

Advantages

  • Lowered ice adhesion strength even on very hydrophilic surfaces
  • Increased efficiency and power output
  • Reduced costs related to ice-removal
  • Reduced risk to public safety associated with ice buildup
  • Durable coating