Ice is a major winter problem when you live in colder climes.
But a new discovery pioneered in part at the Okanagan campus of the University Of British Columbia could change that.
Inside a small mechanical engineering lab at UBCO, professor Kevin Golovin is figuring out new ways to make scraping your car’s windshield a whole lot easier.
‘You can de-ice a large, large area, with very minimal force,” Golovin said.
The professor is talking about a technology called low interfacial toughness, or LIT.
Ice doesn’t adhere well to material with LIT properties.
“So if you were to apply this to a windshield,” said Golovin, “all you would have to do is scrape at the very corner of your windshield and the whole sheet would come off as one complete sheet.”
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The recently published development has changed the way scientists think about ice adhesion.
“This type of discovery opens so many pathways, I’m not even aware of all the new avenues that this will open up,” Golovin said.
But since almost all instances of ice build are detrimental, the practical applications of the LIT technology are numerous.
The aerospace industry and de-icing planes is probably the most obvious one.
“But also the sides of boats, power lines, windshields, inside freezers… inside the little icemakers, basically anywhere that ice forms it could be beneficial,” Golovin said.
So, how soon can we expect to see this LIT technology on the market?
“Are we going to see this on an airplane next week? No because it takes years and years for something to be approved for aerospace,” said Golovin.
“Is it going to be on a windshield as a spray you can buy in the store? Potentially.”