Cheating The Negatives
‘When the snows fall and the white winds blow,’ we rush to heated indoors, but nature takes the cold slap. Winter weather with prolonged spells of brutal cold causes the water in plant tissues to freeze, making arboreal life susceptible to disease and eventually leading to massive crop loss. In this regard, we have developed an array of formulations that can significantly delay surface ice & frost formation for long hours. The coatings were prepared by carefully tailoring the material chemistry of three main compounds: a phase change material, a cryoprotectant, and a block-copolymer. As depicted in the image (captured as a part of my research at UIC), we coated a plant leaf in half with the developed coating and chilled the entire surface to −30°C. The top-view image of the leaf captured after an hour of experimentation shows no frost formation on the gel coating (right half), while the uncoated surrounding gets engulfed in thick frost.