Energy-Efficient Deicing

Defrosting and deicing surfaces is an energy-intensive affair, with lots of heat lost to warming up system components rather than the ice itself. In a new study, researchers explore a faster and more efficient method that focuses on heating just the interface. They coated their working surface in a thin layer of iridium tin oxide, a conductive film used in defrosting. Then, once the surface was iced over, they applied a 100 ms pulse of heating to the film. That localized heat melted the interface, and gravity pulled away the detached ice. Compared to conventional defrosting methods, this technique requires only 1% of the energy and 0.01% of the time. If the method scales reliably to applications like airplane deicing, it would provide enormous savings in time and energy. (Image and research credit: S. Chavan et al.)

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