Icephobic Surfaces Induced by Interfacial Nonfrozen Water

TitleIcephobic Surfaces Induced by Interfacial Nonfrozen Water
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsChen D., Gelenter M.D, Hong M., Cohen R.E, McKinley G.H
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

It is known that smooth, hydrophobic solid surfaces exhibit low ice adhesion values, which have been shown to approach a lower ice adhesion strength limit (∼150 kPa) defined by the water receding contact angle. To overcome this limit, we have designed self-lubricating icephobic coatings by blending polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) amphiphilic copolymers into a polymer matrix. Such coatings provide low ice adhesion strength values (∼50 kPa) that can substantially reduce the lower bound of the ice adhesion strength achieved previously on smooth, hydrophobic solid surfaces. Different molecular mechanisms are responsible for the low ice adhesion strength attained by these two approaches. For the smooth hydrophobic surfaces, an increased water depletion layer thickness at the interface weakens the van der Waals’ interactions between the ice and the polymeric substrate. For the self-lubricating icephobic coatings, the PEG component of the amphiphilic copolymer is capable of strongly hydrogen bonding with water molecules. The surface hydrogen-bonded water molecules do not freeze, even at substantial levels of subcooling, and therefore serve as a self-lubricating interfacial liquid-like layer that helps to reduce the adhesion strength of ice to the surface. The existence of nonfrozen water molecules at the ice-solid interface is confirmed by solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.