New nanoparticle-based anti-ice coating for the Arctic created at NAFU
© Russian Emergency Situations Ministry Far Eastern Regional press service

New nanoparticle-based anti-ice coating for the Arctic created at NAFU

Researchers at Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NAFU) have developed a protective coating based on carbon nanoparticles that can decrease corrosion and the ice covering of surfaces in the Arctic. Tests show that the new coating can slow congelation by two to six times, according to the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education press service.

"Researchers at NAFU physics center have been testing ultrahydrophobic anti-ice coatings based on carbon nanoparticles that can decrease the influence of ice and corrosion in Arctic conditions. At this point we have a working prototype that shows the coating's main properties: ultrahydrophobia and conductivity. Under our test conditions, the coating slowed congelation speed by two to six times compared with an unprotected metallic surface," the report reads.

Existing anti-icing coatings used in the Arctic have several minuses. In particular, the anti-ice coating properties weaken a lot if the temperature is lower than minus 20° Celsius. When ice forms from condensation in the air at these temperatures, hydrophobic and anti-ice properties disappear.

NAFU scientists have come up with a solution to the problem that is based on carbon nanoparticles. Unlike current coatings, they are light and very conductive so the surface can also be heated with electric current. In addition, they have sorption capacity, so they can be interfused with anti-ice compounds or biocidal substances. The coating can also be easily repaired by impregnation with a special lubricant.

"This research could potentially be applied to unmanned aerial vehicles, wind generators, ships and construction material surfaces. So far we have a working prototype and we are continuing to fine tune endurance, the ability to accept heating by the electric current and adding oleophobic properties," Senior Lecturer at the NAFU Department of Fundamental and Applied Physics Sergei Kapustin said in the statement.

The research is taking place in the recently opened university physics center that unites research labs for young scientists and postgraduates as well as the education and project activities of school, university and master's students. In the future, the center's potential will be used in the activities of the Russian Arctic: New Materials, Technology and Research Methods scientific and educational center that is being established in the region.