Deicing airplanes using antifreeze chemicals is a common practice during winter months. The new anti-frosting technology has the potential for use in aerospace applications, including airplane wing manufacturing.

A passive anti-frosting surface was developed that keeps surfaces 90 percent dry and frost-free indefinitely – all without any chemicals or energy inputs. The anti-frosting surface was tested on untreated aluminum by patterning ice stripes onto a microscopic array of elevated grooves. The microscopic grooves act as sacrificial areas, where stripes of intentional ice form and create low pressure zones.

These low-pressure areas pull nearby moisture from the air onto the nearest ice stripe, keeping the overlapping intermediate areas free of frost, even in humid, sub-freezing conditions. These sacrificial ice stripes make up only 10 percent of the material’s surface area, leaving the remaining 90 percent completely dry.