Ultrafast self-healing and highly transparent coating with mechanically durable icephobicity
Yizhi Zhuo, Senbo Xiao, Verner Håkonsen, Tong Li, Feng Wang, Jianying He, Zhiliang Zhang
Coating with icephobicity, self-healing, transparency, recyclability was presented
Ultrafast self-healing mechanism was revealed by both experiments and simulation
Durable icephobicity enabled by ultrafast self-healing function
Multifunctional icephobic materials for complex environmental requirements
Excessive ice accretion on infrastructures can lead to severe damage and dysfunction. In the context of combating the build-up of unwanted icing and at the same time maintaining sunlight transmission, for instance on solar panels, windows and sensors, mechanically durable and transparent icephobic coatings are highly desired. Herein, we design and fabricate an icephobic coating possessing for the first time combined properties of ultrafast self-healing and outperforming transparency. Our coating can restore more than 80 % of the ultimate tensile strength within 45 min of healing at room temperature after introducing a cut. By a combination of both experiments and atomistic simulations, we establish the atomistic mechanism for ultrafast self-healing, i.e. the optimal balance between polymer chain flexibility and concentration of hydrogen bonding pairs. Equipped with such ultrafast self-healing property, the coating shows a stable ice adhesion strength of 52.2 ± 8.9 kPa after 20 icing/deicing cycles, and 48.2 ± 4.6 kPa after healing from mechanical damage, exhibiting exceptional robustness for anti-icing applications that require high mechanical endurance. Importantly, the coating on glass shows a light transmittance of 89.1 % in the visible region, which is remarkably close to bare glass (91.9 %). Moreover, the coating is recyclable due to the dissociable crosslinks, providing a sustainable aspect missing in existing state-of-the-art icephobic coatings. This coating combines the properties of icephobicity, mechanical durability (via self-healing), transparency and recyclability, and thus enlightens the design of multifunctional materials for meeting complex environmental requirements encountered in the field of anti-icing.