Nano particle coating repels ice

Oct. 30, 2009 at 3:28 PM
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PITTSBURGH, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A coating developed at the University of Pittsburgh repels freezing rain and could be applied easily to roads, planes and power lines, researchers said.

The nano particle coating developed in the Swanson School of Engineering belongs to a class of water repellants known as superhydrophobic coatings, doctoral student Liangliang Cao said in a release Thursday.

The coating was inspired by water-resistant Lotus leaves, which have microscopic ridges that reduce the surface area to which water can adhere, Cao said.

Cao's team created resins from nano particles of silica and applied it to frozen aluminum plates to simulate freezing rain. Resins with silica particles less than 50 nanometers in size completely prevented icing, Cao said.

Water touched the air pockets between the particles and fell away without freezing. Cao produced similar results when he used the coating on a commercial satellite dish, the university said.

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