A team from the University of Michigan in the U.S. has created an ice-repelling coating that could mean the end of scraping auto glass and deicing airplanes.

The researchers are able to tune the coating for different applications, adjusting the level of repellence as well as durability.The researchers are able to tune the coating for different applications, adjusting the level of repellence as well as durability.Many deicing efforts have tried to create a way to make a surface so slippery that ice cannot adhere to it. The Michigan researchers worked to make the surface less hard so that adhesion can’t take place. Exploiting interfacial cavitation, the researchers created a rubbery coating that makes a surface soft and easily deformed by slight movement. As a result, ice can’t get a grip and falls off with a small vibration.

The coating is made with commonly used rubber synthetics and is clear, so it can be sprayed on almost any surface or coating. By adjusting the degree of smoothness or rubber, the researchers are able to tune the coating for different applications, adjusting the level of repellence as well as durability.

The team says the coating will work well for the airline industry, wind turbines and automobiles. They are tackling the safety and durability requirements that will need to be met for the airline industry, but predict a version of the spray will be commercially available in as little as one year.

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