Graphene Composite May Keep Wings Ice-free

Posted on February 4, 2016 linda strong aviation news

Rice University has developed a break-through discovery in graphene nanoribbons. This thin coating in epoxy has been tested and shown to be remarkably effective at being able to melt the ice on a helicopter blade. Developed by Rice lab chemist James Tour, the American Chemical Society Journal reports that this coating has been back tested and is a real-time solution as a de-icer for virtually any surface having exposure to extreme winter elements such as transmission lines, wind turbines, and most importantly the aircraft itself. The lab laboriously and meticulously tested the thin coating in minus-4 degree weather. Examples of tests include applying it on a static helicopter rotor blade and amazingly when the coating came into contact with a small electrical voltage it produced Joule heating which is an electrothermal heat that instantaneously melted the ice.

This is made possible by the nanoribbons which is a conduit for electricity and would interconnect at a much lower loading level than other traditional methods. By unzipping the nanotubes, the nanoribbons became extremely conductive. The chemist at Rice were able to cross-examine previous testing to show that radar domes and glass can be de-iced through film which can be observed by the naked human eye. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this Graphene Composite which is obscenely expensive should you produce them in a large sheet, the composite could be easily applied at airports which would result in massive reductions in expenditures by the airports who are progressively moving towards a more environmentally friendly approach.

Testing by the Rice labs show that the nanoribbons comprised of just 5% of the composite held up perfectly in temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The composite even provided an outer layer of electromagnetic protection that shielded the aircraft from lightning strikes! The studies and testing performed at Rice University were funded for and supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Carson Helicopter.

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