The accumulation of ice can cause significant damage, thus ruining an electrical equipment and interrupting the work of a machine and even endangering people. That is why in this post we explain everything about anti-icing surfaces to avoid this problem.
What are anti-icing surfaces?
Anti-icing surfaces prevent ice from adhering or delay its formation. This makes them ideal for applications in places with extreme climatic conditions or in equipment where there are sudden changes in temperature. In addition, these surfaces are very popular in industries such as aviation, although we cannot forget other sectors such as agriculture, refrigerators or air conditioners where they are also quite common.
What areanti-icing surfaces used for ?
Two of the main functions of anti-icing surfaces are discussed below.
Prevent ice formation
Delay ice formation
On the other hand, de-icing surfaces have numerous advantages.
One of them is improved safety. On aircraft, a layer of ice on the wings can significantly affect the ability to fly; and on roads and bridges, ice and snow can cause dangerous slides for vehicles and pedestrians. This is where anti-icing surfaces can help reduce these risks by allowing ice and snow to easily slide off the surface.
Another important advantage of anti-icing surfaces is efficiency and cost. In the aviation industry, the use of de-icing surfaces can allow a significant reduction in de-icing time and fuel usage, which in turn reduces operating costs. Conversely, in ground transportation, de-icing surfaces can help reduce cleaning and maintenance costs, as well as costs associated with delays and accidents.
Types of anti-icing surfaces and how they work
But, what types of anti-icing surfaces are there and how does each of them work? In the following, we will discuss each of them. There are several types of anti-icing surfaces, each with its own characteristics and applications.
Some of the types of anti-icing surfaces are as follows:
Surfaces coated with chemical compounds
One of the most popular methods of creating anti-icing surfaces. Chemical compounds used to coat the surfaces include calcium chloride, silicates and polyesters. These compounds help by creating a low-energy layer that prevents water from freezing or sticking, allowing them to slide off easily.
Textured and patterned surfaces
Surfaces with specific textures and patterns, such as scuffs, grooves and ruts, can also help prevent ice and snow from adhering. These patterns create a rough surface that prevents ice and snow from adhering firmly.
This method uses an electrical voltage to dislodge ice and snow from the surface. The electric current is applied through electrodes located on the surface, which helps to break the adhesion of the ice and snow.
These materials have a surface with a high surface energy, which makes water and ice slide off easily. This can be achieved by using materials with superhydrophobic and lotophobic characteristics.
Surfaces with thermoelectric systems
These systems use the temperature difference to generate electricity, which is used to heat the surface to prevent the formation of ice.
Surfaces with nanoparticles
These surfaces are able to act on the surface in a similar way as chemical compounds do, but with a smaller quantity and better distribution on the surface.
In addition, it is important to note that some of these methods have limitations in terms of their ability to operate in extreme conditions or their environmental impact and cost. Therefore, the appropriate type of anti-icing surface will depend on the specific conditions and needs of each application.
Anti-icing surfaces beneffits
Once the types of anti-icing surfaces have been discussed, we will explain the benefits they present. Some of them are the following:
One of the most important benefits of anti-icing surfaces is improved safety. On aircraft, a layer of ice on the wings can significantly affect the ability to fly; and on roads and bridges, ice and snow can cause dangerous slides for vehicles and pedestrians. Anti-icing surfaces can help reduce these risks by allowing ice and snow to slide easily off the surface.
Efficiency and reduced costs
In the aviation industry, the use of de-icing surfaces can enable a significant reduction in de-icing time and fuel usage, which in turn reduces operating costs. In ground transportation, de-icing surfaces can help reduce cleaning and maintenance costs, as well as costs associated with delays and accidents.
Ice and snow on roads and sidewalks can make it difficult for people to move around, especially for those with disabilities or special needs. The use of anti-icing surfaces can help improve mobility by allowing ice and snow to easily slide off the surface, which can improve accessibility at these locations.
Improvement in the useful life of infrastructures
By preventing ice and snow from adhering to the surface, it also prevents wear and tear on the surfaces, thus improving their durability.
Reduced environmental impact
Some of the methods are less invasive and less harmful to the environment compared to other traditional methods. For example, the use of nanoparticles instead of chemical compounds can reduce the environmental impact, as they are used in smaller quantities and are better distributed on the surface.
Anti-icing surfaces Applications
There are several and very different applications of anti-icing surfaces. Some of the most important are:
Heat exchangers, which are used to transfer heat back and forth, can be affected by ice and snow buildup. To prevent ice from accumulating on pipes and exchanger plates, which helps maintain efficiency and extend equipment life.
Air conditioning units
In these units, ice and snow can accumulate on the evaporators and condensers, which can affect their ability to cool the air. Anti-icing surfaces are used to help prevent ice buildup and maintain unit performance.
Essential in aviation due to the extreme weather conditions that aircraft often face. Wing icing can significantly affect flight capability, so anti-icing surfaces help maintain safety in the air.
Roads and bridges
Ice and snow on roads and bridges can cause dangerous slides for vehicles and pedestrians. Anti-icing surfaces help maintain mobility and safety by allowing ice and snow to easily slide off the surface.
Anti-icing surfaces are also used on buildings to help prevent ice and snow from accumulating on roofs and sidewalks, which improves safety and accessibility.
Useful to prevent ice build-up on equipment and machinery, which helps to maintain their efficiency and prolong their useful life.
Anti-icing surfaces are used in the energy industry to help maintain the operation of wind turbines and solar panels in icy and snowy conditions.
Do you want us to select, apply and test an anti-icing surface for your product? Contact us!