Ice-phobic coatings based on silicon-oil-infused polydimethylsiloxane

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013 May 22;5(10):4053-62. doi: 10.1021/am400704z. Epub 2013 May 3.


A simple and low-cost technique for the preparation of silicon-oil-infused polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) coatings with different silicon oil contents have been developed and studied. This material is designed for ice-phobic applications, and thus a high hydrophobic property of PDMS is maintained by avoiding any polar groups such as C═O and OH in the structure. Therefore, the polymer main chain was attached with vinyl and Si-H groups to obtain a cross-linking capability, meanwhile to ensure a nonpolar chemical structure. Its ice-phobic property has been investigated in terms of ice adhesion strength (tensile and shear), water contact angle, icing dynamics using high-speed photography and morphology using TEM, SEM and AFM. The prepared coating surface shows a low surface energy and very low ice adhesion strength of 50 kPa, only about 3% of the value on a bare aluminum (Al) surface. In the silicon oil infused PDMS coatings, the low surface energy of the silicon oil and PDMS, and the high mobility of silicon oil played an important role on the ice-phobic property. Both of these factors offer the surface a large water contact angle and hence a small contact area, leading to the formation of a loose ice layer. In addition, the oil infused polymer structure significantly reduces the contact area of the ice with solid substrate since the ice mostly contacts with the mobile oil. This leads to a very weak interaction between the substrate and ice, consequently significantly reduces the ice adhesion strength on the surface. Therefore, such material could be a good candidate for ice-phobic coatings on which the accumulated ice may be easily removed by a nature force, such as wind, gravity, and vibration.