Investigation of Heterogeneous Ice Nucleation on the Micro-Cubic Structure Superhydrophobic Surface for Enhancing Icing-Delay Performance
  • Senyun Liu1,2, Qinglin Liu1,2, Xian Yi1,2,*, Yizhou Shen4,*, Long Guo1,2, Wenqing Hou4, Haifeng Chen3, Zhen Wang4
1 State Key Laboratory of Aerodynamics, China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center, Mianyang, 621000, China
2 Key Laboratory of Icing and Anti/De-icing, China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center, Mianyang, 621000, China
3 Department of Materials Chemistry, Qiuzhen School, Huzhou University, Huzhou, 313000, China
4 College of Materials Science and Technology, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, 210016, China
* Corresponding Authors: Xian Yi. Email:; Yizhou Shen. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue:Green Coating and Film for Degeneration Protection)
The aim of this study is to explore the heterogeneous ice nucleation behavior based on controllable micro-cubic array structure surfaces from the statistic perspective. To this end, we firstly constructed a group of micro-cubic array structures on silicon substrates by a selective plasma etching technique. After grafting low-free-energy substance, the as-constructed micro-cubic array structure surfaces exhibited higher non-wettability with the water contact angle being up to 150°. On this basis, 500 cycles of freezing and melting processes were accurately recorded to analyze the instantaneous ice nucleation behavior according to the statistical results of freezing temperature. As a consequence, the statistical freezing temperature of the sample with micro-spacing distance of 40 μm is as low as −17.13°C. This microstructure configuration (conforming to Cassie-Baxter wetting regime) not only could entrap more air pockets, but also achieved lower solid-liquid contact area, resulting in lower ice nucleation rate (~2–3 orders of magnitude less than that on the flat substrate). Furthermore, the gradually increasing micro-spacing distance to 60 μm would induce the transition from CassieBaxter to Wenzel wetting state, leading to higher freezing probability and ice nucleation rate. The complete understanding on microstructure configuration improving the ice nucleation will lay the foundation stone for the microstructure design of ice-repellent materials.
Microstructure configuration; superhydrophobic; ice nucleation; antiicing/icephobic material