Does the Snow Queen like black? Graphane, new carbon, and self-healing nanomaterials in composite anti-ice surfaces

Funding: 2 587 009 PLN

Duration: 3 October 2022 – 2 October 2025

Leader: Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun

Partner: Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice


The icing problem occurs in everyday life in vehicles, aircraft, power lines, wind turbines, etc. The main directions to reduce this obstacle without heating are: repelling droplets, suppressing the nucleation of ice, and delaying the time of nucleation. The goal of this project is the preparation of new anti-icing surfaces containing, never applied before, modern carbon nanomaterials, especially pristine/hydrogenated single-walled carbon nanohorns, and nanosized graphane, together with never used in anti-icing science terpolymer of tetrafluoroethylene, hexafluoropropylene and vinylidene fluoride (THV). This polymer will be applied as the basic component of new self-healing anti-icing solids, including not studied yet negative Poisson’s ratio materials. Carbon nanomaterials will be used as: surface coatings, components of self-healing sponges/mats, polymer-based nanofibers, and pillars. Therein, we will design the features of recently discovered monostable superrepellent materials. For such a material, the impaled Cassie state is stable and once the external forces are gone (for example wind), the droplet spontaneously and reversibly returns to the stable Cassie state. Our preliminary results show that carbon nanohorns are perfect candidates as building blocks for the Cassie monostable surfaces. Thus, we hypothesize that Cassie monostability of a nanohorn surface can be crucial in the design of its anti-icing properties. The new strategy will be applied to reduce Wenzel ice causing pillar instability. The next hypothesis is proved recently by us, the influence of adsorbed hydrocarbons on freezing must be studied, and taken into account in the ice nucleation theory. Thus, we will perform the measurements of freezing under an airborne hydrocarbon-free atmosphere and implement Molecular Dynamics simulations. Summing up, we assume that: the application of nanographane, and carbon nanohorns together with new fluorinated self-healing surfaces will provide new anti-icing and self-healing materials exhibiting high repellence of water before nucleation, lowering nucleation temperature, and delaying the ice formation – including also its Wenzel form. New materials shall approach us toward the critical ice adhesion strength value equal to 12 kPa, i.e. the value below which ice is removed by wind shear, by its own weight, or by vibration.