Spontaneous deicing on cold surfaces

Dong Song, Youhua Jiang, Tsengming Chou, Kaustubh Asawa, Chang Hwan Choi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Although freezing of a droplet on cold surfaces is a universal phenomenon, its mechanisms are still inadequately understood, especially on the surfaces of which the temperature is lower than −60 °C. Here, we report the unique spontaneous deicing phenomena of a water droplet impacting on cold surfaces with a temperature as low as −120 °C. As a hydrophilic surface is cooled below a critically low temperature (e.g., −57 °C for a silicon surface with a native oxide), the impacting water droplet spontaneously delaminates from the substrate and freezes radially outward in a horizontal plane, as opposed to the typical upward freezing shown on a warmer surface. The self-delamination phenomenon is suppressed or reinstated by the combination of thermal and hydrophobic modifications of the surface, which can be taken advantage of for effective deicing schemes for icephobic surface applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11245-11254
Number of pages10
Issue number38
StatePublished - 29 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


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