Keeping Ice Away
"Nanotechnology advance leads to materials that are resistant to icing."
Technology Review Feed - Computing Top Stories Download time: Nov 16 2010 7:56 AM ET
Ice is a hazardous fact of winter life, playing havoc with roads, utility lines, buildings, and air travel. Conventional methods of getting rid of the ice, such as direct heating, applying salt, or using chemicals to trigger melting, all have liabilities: they can corrode the materials they're applied to, and damage the environment, and they are only modestly or temporarily effective. But Harvard scientists say they have created materials that can prevent ice from forming on surfaces in the first place.
The researchers say their breakthrough, reported in the latest issue of ACS Nano, could apply not only to aviation but to road paving, construction, power transmission, and virtually any other industry for which chemical and physical deicing is a concern. "What we want to do is to have ice not form at all," says Joanna Aizenberg, a materials scientist and leader of the project.…