Airplane pilots are well aware of the dangers of wing icing, so scientists are constantly looking for ways to solve this problem. A team of scientists from the Northwestern University School of Engineering (USA) announced the creation of a new coating on which 60% less ice forms, even at very low temperatures.
The idea of this material was “prompted” by mint leaves. Their surface is a topological combination of “mountain peaks” and “lowlands”, making uniform formation of ice impossible.
In the process of research, scientists used computer modeling of the formation of condensate and its distribution over the surface of the sheet. It turned out that condensate accumulates more at the “tops” and, accordingly, less in the “lowlands”. Moreover, the accumulated condensation will soon evaporate, even at temperatures below freezing. As a result, scientists were able to create a model of a surface that is resistant to icing.
Further experimentation led the team to an optimal design that mimics the surface of a mint leaf, with alternating “tops” and “lows” forming angles of 40 to 60 degrees. While the thinnest ice forms on the “tops”, in the “lowlands”, due to the special relief of the surface, it does not exist – due to this, the entire surface is defrosting more efficiently.