How do you control ice formation on a plane, even when it’s in flight? A de-icing method exploits how frost grows on pillar structures to suspend ice as it forms into a layer that’s easier to remove.
The new water-repellent surface doesn’t require chemical coatings; instead, it uses a simple and durable structure in the form of aluminum, millimeter-sized pillars. Frost grows on top of the pillars, creating tiny “ice bridges” that trap air pockets underneath. These trapped air gaps cause the ice sheet to be suspended, lowering the amount of adhesion ice has to the surface.