Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new ice-repellent coating that could make life easier for motorists in winter. They will no longer have to spend ages struggling to scrape ice off their windshields in freezing temperatures before they drive to work in the morning. Ice not only obscures visibility but it also increases the potential for accidents.
The new spray-on rubber-based ice-repellent coating can be applied to car and aircraft windshields. It works by using its chemical nature to decrease the adhesion of ice to the surfaces to which the coating is applied. This makes it easy to remove the ice as even a light breeze or the force of gravity is all that is needed to remove the ice from the treated surface due to the “iceophobic” nature of the material used in the coating.
Doctoral student Kevin Golovin said that researchers have been trying for many years to use chemical techniques to decrease the adhesion of ice and make surfaces more water-repellent.
According to the team, the rubber-based coating could have many more applications, like making industrial and household freezers more efficient. It can be used to make freezers frost free and reduce energy bills by 20 per cent. The team has already developed hundreds of ice-repelling formulas for numerous uses.
It might be a while before the technology is successfully used in cars and airplanes due to the highly stringent safety and durability norms that have to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, the first step has already been taken and scraping ice off the windshield may soon become a thing of the past in colder countries.
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