mechanics/materials

Ice-proofing big structures with a “beautiful demonstration of mechanics”

A new class of coatings that sheds ice effortlessly from even large surfaces has moved researchers closer to their decades-long goal of ice-proofing cargo ships, airplanes, power lines and other large structures.

The spray-on coatings, developed at the University of Michigan, cause ice to fall away from structures—regardless of their size—with just the force of a light breeze, or often the weight of the ice itself. A paper on the research is published in Science.

In a test on a mock power line, the coating shed ice immediately.