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Triple-Scale Superhydrophobic Surface with Excellent Anti-Icing and Icephobic Performance via Ultrafast Laser Hybrid Fabrication

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journal contribution
posted on 28.12.2020, 21:13 authored by Rui Pan, Hongjun Zhang, Minlin Zhong
Passive anti-icing or icephobic superhydrophobic surfaces have attracted great interest due to their potential multifaceted implications for the prevention and/or easy removal of undesired ice in many applications. However, a superhydrophobic surface with both excellent anti-icing and icephobic performances has rarely been reported due to difficulties in sustaining a good Cassie state stability. This is the case especially under high humidity and freezing environment conditions. In the present study, a new triple-scale micro/nanostructured superhydrophobic surface with both excellent anti-icing and icephobic properties has been designed via a hybrid method, combining ultrafast laser ablation and chemical oxidation. The novel surface structure is composed of periodical microcone arrays covered with densely grown nanograsses and dispersedly distributed microflowers. This surface exhibits an excellent Cassie state stability with its critical Laplace pressure reaching up to 1450 Pa, which is essential for good anti-icing and icephobic performances. The anti-icing feature of the prepared superhydrophobic surface is achieved by a rapid rolling-off of the impacting droplets. Moreover, an excellent resistance to the impact of high humidity has been achieved via hierarchical condensation, coalescence-induced jumping, and upward moving. A good delay of the heterogeneous nucleation at the solid–liquid interface under freezing condition has been registered as well, due to the presence of stable air pockets within the surface structures. In addition, the ice adhesion strength of the prepared superhydrophobic surface can be as low as 1.7 kPa, which is the lowest value when compared with the state-of-the-art superhydrophobic surfaces. Such a low ice adhesion strength allows the ice to be easily removed by its own weight and demonstrates an excellent icephobic performance. The repeated icing–deicing tests indicate a decent deicing robustness of the synthesized superhydrophobic surface. Thus, this triple-scale superhydrophobic surface exhibits a good anti-icing and icephobic performance with an excellent Cassie state stability, high humidity resistance, and good deicing durability. We hypothesize that the proposed fabrication strategy and associated basic findings will shed new light on the design of robust ice-resistant superhydrophobic surfaces and contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between superhydrophobicity and ice resistance.