Prevention of ice accretion on surfaces is pertinent in many fields, including energy, transportation and telecommunications. In addition to improving operation safety and reducing cost, reduction of ice buildup can lead to increased energy efficiency. For instance, ice buildup on wind turbine blades in cold climates drastically reduces the efficiency of power generation, often requiring turbine shutdown. Many of the current approaches to address ice accumulation are based on active processes requiring significant energy to generate heat. Therefore, development of passive ice mitigation strategies that require no additional energy is highly desirable. A challenge for passive ice mitigation is that the relationship between hydrophobicity (how resistant a substance is to liquid water ‘sticking’ to it) and icephobicity (how resistant a substance is to ice ‘sticking’ to it) is a topic of lively debate. For example, a hydrophobic surface at room temperature may not be icephobic at freezing temperatures, whereas a hydrophilic surface at room temperature may prove icephobic. This project will use simulation modeling to gain insight into the underlying statistics governing freezing and to confirm the efficacy of simulation codes. Outcomes of this work will be to understand the underlying statistics governing nucleation (earliest stages of ice formation) and rapidly screen candidate surfaces for improved resistance to ice accretion in future technologies and infrastructure.
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