Novel self-healing icephobic surfaces due to lubricant functionalized nanostructure

Project coordinator @ CEST: Dr. Camen Vladu

Project abstract:

Metallic corrosion, sometimes referred to as “the cancer of the metals”, is a very important phenomenon, affecting many areas ranging from the aviation and automotive industries to transport infrastructure such as railways and pipes etc., with a major impact on environment and human safety. The scale and impact of corrosion is evidenced by the huge annual costs generated by this challenge (the global cost of corrosion was estimated in 2016 to be US$2.5 trillion). Especially for aircraft, ccorrosion maintenance and inhibition are absolutely essential in aircraft maintenance, but it is costly in terms of man hours, lowered aircraft availability and component replacement.

Although novel Cr(VI) free solutions to corrosion are urgently needed, within the aviation industry, the problem is compounded by concomitant challenges of erosion and ice accretion in aircraft. Radical technological innovation in aerospace is increasingly focused on creating novel products to reduce costs (e.g. maintenance, repair, fuel efficiency), and to increase safety. Recent developments in novel nanostructured materials have enabled a shift from single purpose coatings to multifunctional ones, and self-healing materials have become “the holy grail” for the aerospace industry, especially because they need less maintenance due to their self-repairing capabilities.

The NanoSHeal project is designed to precisely address the above considerations and aims to develop innovative multifunctional corrosion protective coatings with long-lasting self-healing and anti-icing surface properties despite erosion and contamination during in-flight exposure. The NanoSHeal approach will utilize low-cost electrospinning to create core-sheath nanofibers encapsulating active healing and lubricating agents within their core. These nanofibers will not only afford mechanical resistance against erosion, but also release these active agents to heal and lubricate the coating upon surface damage. By providing a continuous seal against moisture ingress, the coated surfaces are also protected from corrosion. Furthermore, the newly engineered coatings are designed to be environmentally friendly, replacing commonly utilized toxic chromium-based coatings.

Novel self-healing, icephobic coatings have a tremendous potential to impact future structural performance by reducing size, weight, cost, power consumption and complexity while improving efficiency, and safety. This basic research for high risk ideas secures the basis for future innovations.


General info:

Program: Take OFF 2019

Funding agency: FFG

Project duration: 1.01.2021 – 31.12.2021

Project coordinator: CEST

Project partners: University of Vienna, Faculty of Chemistry, Institute of Physical Chemistry