Nanoscale deicing by molecular dynamics simulation†
Deicing is important to human activities in low-temperature circumstances, and is critical for combating the damage caused by excessive accumulation of ice. The aim of creating anti-icing materials, surfaces and applications relies on the understanding of fundamental nanoscale ice adhesion mechanics. Here in this study, we employ all-atom modeling and molecular dynamics simulation to investigate ice adhesion. We apply force to detach and shear nano-sized ice cubes for probing the determinants of atomistic adhesion mechanics, and at the same time investigate the mechanical effect of a sandwiched aqueous water layer between ice and substrates. We observe that high interfacial energy restricts ice mobility and increases both ice detaching and shearing stresses. We quantify up to a 60% decrease in ice adhesion strength by an aqueous water layer, and provide atomistic details that support previous experimental studies. Our results contribute quantitative comparison of nanoscale adhesion strength of ice on hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces, and supply for the first time theoretical references for understanding the mechanics at the atomistic origins of macroscale ice adhesion.