Liquid-infused nanostructured surfaces with extreme anti-ice and anti-frost performance

ACS Nano. 2012 Aug 28;6(8):6569-77. doi: 10.1021/nn302310q. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Ice-repellent coatings can have significant impact on global energy savings and improving safety in many infrastructures, transportation, and cooling systems. Recent efforts for developing ice-phobic surfaces have been mostly devoted to utilizing lotus-leaf-inspired superhydrophobic surfaces, yet these surfaces fail in high-humidity conditions due to water condensation and frost formation and even lead to increased ice adhesion due to a large surface area. We report a radically different type of ice-repellent material based on slippery, liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS), where a stable, ultrasmooth, low-hysteresis lubricant overlayer is maintained by infusing a water-immiscible liquid into a nanostructured surface chemically functionalized to have a high affinity to the infiltrated liquid and lock it in place. We develop a direct fabrication method of SLIPS on industrially relevant metals, particularly aluminum, one of the most widely used lightweight structural materials. We demonstrate that SLIPS-coated Al surfaces not only suppress ice/frost accretion by effectively removing condensed moisture but also exhibit at least an order of magnitude lower ice adhesion than state-of-the-art materials. On the basis of a theoretical analysis followed by extensive icing/deicing experiments, we discuss special advantages of SLIPS as ice-repellent surfaces: highly reduced sliding droplet sizes resulting from the extremely low contact angle hysteresis. We show that our surfaces remain essentially frost-free in which any conventional materials accumulate ice. These results indicate that SLIPS is a promising candidate for developing robust anti-icing materials for broad applications, such as refrigeration, aviation, roofs, wires, outdoor signs, railings, and wind turbines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / chemistry*
  • Crystallization / methods*
  • Friction
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Ice / analysis*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Porosity
  • Solutions / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Ice
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Solutions
  • Aluminum