A super water-repellant coating is being developed to help planes fly safely through icy weather. The hydrophobic coating would be applied to the whole plane and could help prevent the buildup of ice deposits. Current anti-icing techniques include diverting hot air from the engines to the wings, and using inflatable membranes known as pneumatic boots, which crack ice off the leading edge of an aircraft's wings. The super-hydrophobic coating being developed by Sakaue, Katsuaki Morita, a graduate student at Tokyo University, and colleagues from the Kanagawa Institute of Technology and Chuo University, works by preventing the water from sticking to the aircraft's surface in the first place. According to a statement, the researchers developed a coating containing microscopic particles of a Teflon-based material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which reduces the energy needed to detach a drop of water from a surface.
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