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Coatings

Video: Phase-changing material keeps ice at bay

Material uses heat from water condensation to delay ice formation

by Kerri Jansen
April 1, 2019

 

Credit: Adv. Mater./C&EN

Ice accumulation can be bad news. That’s why we spend so much time and money keeping it off power lines, airplane wings, and wind turbine blades. Many strategies are being developed to keep these surfaces ice-free, and researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago led by Sushant Anand, along with Daniel A. Beysens from ESPCI Paris, have just added a new weapon in the fight against ice, one that uses simple molecules and straightforward physics (Adv. Mater. 2019, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201807812). Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a chemical that solidifies at a temperature higher than the freezing point of water. As water droplets condense, they release enough heat to melt DMSO and form a thin layer of liquid underneath and around the water droplet. Illinois team member Rukmava Chatterjee says he thinks this delays the water’s freezing because the liquid DMSO traps heat around the droplet, and it’s hard for ice to form on the smooth surface with nothing to latch onto and nucleate around.

Music: “Electro Cabello” by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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Comments
Stanton de Riel (April 5, 2019 10:50 AM)
I wonder if it would be possible to tether, in effect, the active portion of DMSO molecules to the surface to be rendered frost-resistant? Say, via a short hydrophilic linkage. Then the "dissolution" of potentially condensed water would be a reversible process, such that the DMSO could not be washed off casually. This is perhaps the opposite of the result of treating a windshield with the commercial product "Rain-ex", which confers sufficient hydrophobicity to the glass that rain beads off (making windshield wipers not essential, although residual tiny droplets are annoying if scattering direct sunlight).

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