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A Family of Frost‐Resistant and Icephobic Coatings
Anti-icing and icephobic materials play a crucial role in demanding applications ranging from energy to transportation systems operating in frigid climates. Despite remarkable advancements in the development of such surface coatings, the use of anti/de-icing chemicals remains one of the go-to solutions for ice management. However, they are notoriously prone to removal by shear forces and dissolution. Herein, the design rationale for developing a family of cryoprotectant and phase-change material (PCM)-based compositions in the form of mixtures, non-aqueous emulsions-creams, and gels that can substantially overcome such challenges is reported. This is achieved through the sustenance of an in-situ-generated surface hydration layer that protects the underlying substrate from a variety of foulants, varying from ice to disease-causing bacteria. Each formulation utilizes unique chemistry to curtail the embodied cryoprotectant loss and can be easily applied as an all-in-one sprayable/paintable coating capable of significantly outperforming untreated industrial materials in terms of their ability to delay condensation-frosting and shed ice simultaneously. Concomitantly, an array of formulation-specific functionalities is observed in the family, which includes optical transparency, mechanical durability, high shear-flow stability, and self-healing characteristics.