An outlook on tunable superhydrophobic nanostructural surfaces and their possible impact on ice mitigation

Authors: Khedir R. Khedir, Ganesh K. Kannarpady, Charles Ryerson, Alexandru S. Biris

Publication: Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 112, November 2017, Pages 304-318


For decades, there has been a demand for the fabrication of surfaces that could prevent ice accumulation or remove ice easily. Ice buildup on the surfaces of infrastructural equipment such as airplanes, cars, ships, dams, wind turbines, and off-shore platforms reduces their efficiency and imposes safety risks. Traditional anti-icing and de-icing equipment is costly and is often inadequate in terms of performance. Some methods also have a negative impact on the environment. The last decade’s intensive investigation of the non-wetting properties of superhydrophobic (SHP) surfaces has raised the possibility of using these surfaces as icephobic surfaces, as well.

In this review, the fundamental wetting properties of solid surfaces and SHP surfaces in particular are described first. SHP fabrication techniques and the effect of surface texture on the mechanism of water droplet interaction with the SHP surfaces are also discussed. Next, a comprehensive review of SHP surfaces’ performance in ice mitigation is presented, particularly the bouncing mechanism of super-cooled water droplets on substrates at subzero temperatures and the subsequent reduction of ice adhesion strength. The robustness of these surfaces, as well as the limitations of their performance in various environmental conditions, is also considered. It is believed that SHP surfaces’ ability to retain the Cassie state of wetting, even during impact by high velocity droplets and during frost formation, is the key to their icephobic performance. The design and engineering of the surface’s rough textures, as well as understanding super-cooled water droplet surface kinetics at the microscopic level, are crucial in developing SHP-based icephobic surfaces.

Posted in: Biris, Kannarpady, Publications

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