In this paper, the iceophobic properties of superhydrophobic surfaces are compared to those of uncoated aluminum and steel plate surfaces as investigated under dynamic flow conditions by using a closed loop low-temperature wind tunnel. Superhydrophobic surfaces were prepared at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory by coating aluminum and steel plates with nano-structured hydrophobic particles. The contact angle and contact angle hysteresis measured for these surfaces ranged from 165–170° and 1–8°, respectively. The superhydrophobic plates along with uncoated control ones were exposed to an air flow of 12 m/s and 20°F with micron-sized water droplets in the icing wind tunnel and the ice formation and accretion were probed by using high speed cameras for 90 seconds. Results show that the developed superhydrophobic coatings significantly delay the ice formation and accretion even with the impingement of accelerated super-cooled water droplets, but there is a time scale for this phenomenon which has a clear relation with contact angle hysteresis of the samples. Among the different superhydrophobic coating samples, the plate having the lowest contact angle hysteresis showed the most pronounced iceophobic effects, while the correlation between static contact angles and the iceophobic effects was not evident. The results suggest that the key parameter for designing iceophobic surfaces is to retain a low contact angle hysteresis, rather than to have only a low contact angle, which can result in more efficient anti-icing properties in dynamic flow conditions.

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