What started as a small project for Defence has now become an excellent study published in Nature Communications. Zahra (Sonia) and co-authors show that the interfacial toughness of ice with polyethylene (UHMW-PE) is temperature dependent. By teaming up with the OMEGA Lab at UBC, we embedded heaters and ice sensors into the polyethylene to make a smart coating that has controllably low interfacial toughness (LIT) with ice. This enables surfaces to be mechanically de-iced without the need for melting, saving substantial amounts of energy. And the exciting properties of LIT materials means the de-icing is applicable to real-world sized surfaces like airplane wings or wind turbine blades. Great work Sonia!
Check out: Smart low interfacial toughness coatings for on-demand de-icing without melting