We study frost formation and its impact on icephobic properties of superhydrophobic surfaces. Using an environmental scanning electron microscope, we show that frost nucleation occurs indiscriminately on superhydrophobic textures without any particular spatial preference. Iceadhesion measurements on superhydrophobic surfaces susceptible to frost formation show increased adhesion over smooth surfaces with a strong linear trend with the total surface area. These studies indicate that frost formation significantly compromises the icephobic properties of superhydrophobicsurfaces and poses serious limitations to the use of superhydrophobic surfaces as icephobic surface treatments for both on-ground and in-flight applications.

Paper: K. K. Varanasi, T. Deng, J. D. Smith, M. Hsu, and N. Bhate, Applied Physics Letters

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