Hadi Ghasemi, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering, has developed a sprayable ice-shedding material that is 100 times stronger than any other.
The primary challenge in developing ice-shedding materials is finding materials with both low ice adhesion and good durability. The principle of the new “fracture-controlled material” lies in the fact that for detachment of any external solid object from a surface (like ice from an airplane wing), force must be applied, and that force will inevitably lead to formation of some cracks at the interface. These cracks, or fractures, grow until full detachment of the object from the surface. Through a new concept developed by the researchers, detachment can be accurately controlled and accelerated. According to Ghasemi, in this new concept through material design, the crack formation and growth can be significantly accelerated and external objects can be easily removed from the surface. The concept is implemented to develop materials that are highly durable, and ice does not attach to these materials. The coating has been tested by Boeing under erosive rain conditions at 385 miles per hour and has outperformed current state-of-the-art aerospace coating technologies.
University of Houston, TX
To combat the dangers of icing. This new concept of fracture-controlled materials paves the way for innovations in materials for aerospace, wind energy, and other industrial and commercial applications where icing is an issue.
Ghasemi will continue refining the ice-shedding coating through his company Elemental Coatings, which has been awarded a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract from the United States Airforce to further develop anti-icing protection for large military jets.