Rapid fabrication of a dual-scale micro-nanostructured superhydrophobic aluminum surface with delayed condensation and ice formation properties†
Aluminum (Al) is widely used in all forms of industry, including automobile, aerospace, transmission lines, and exchangers, and in general household appliances. Ice accumulation on Al surfaces may cause serious problems, especially during the winter, leading to critical damage to mechanical systems. In this study, we developed a superhydrophobic coating with anti-icing properties on an Al surface using a simple and cost-effective technique. The superhydrophobic dual-shape micro-/nanostructured (MN-) Al surface was fabricated by a facile chemical etching and an anodization method, followed by surface modification with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) via a simple thermal vapor deposition method. The static contact angle of the fabricated surface was more than 160 °C. Compared with the bare surface and the silicone oil-infused PDMS coating (SLIPS) on the MN-structured Al substrate, the fabricated superhydrophobic surface displayed excellent anti-icing. Ice formation on the superhydrophobic surface was delayed by 80 and 45 min at −5 °C and −10 °C, respectively, at a relative humidity of 80% ± 5%. The superhydrophobic surface demonstrated an increase of almost four and two times delay in icing time on the surface over bare and SLIPS surfaces, respectively. The coalescence induced jumping behavior of condensate water droplets was also investigated on the fabricated surfaces. The result indicates that the superhydrophobic surface can effectively delay ice/frost formation by the synergetic effect of surface morphology and the extremely low adhesive property of the surfaces, which allows the self-propelled jumping phenomenon at low temperature and high humidity. This proposed simple, fast, and cost-effective method could be applied to design large-scale anti-icing surfaces.