ANN ARBOR—On your car windshield, ice is a nuisance. But on an airplane, a wind turbine, an oil rig or power line, it can be downright dangerous. And removing it with the methods that are available today—usually chemical melting agents or labor-intensive scrapers and hammers—is difficult and expensive work.
That could soon change thanks to a durable, inexpensive ice-repellent coating developed by University of Michigan researchers. Thin, clear and slightly rubbery to the touch, the spray-on formula could make ice slide off equipment, airplanes and car windshields with only the force of gravity or a gentle breeze. This could have major implications in industries like energy, shipping and transportation, where ice is a constant problem in cold climates.