The industrial drivers

Project 1

Surface coatings application have been attempted to prevent icing and erosion with little success. The dual challenges of extreme weather conditions and long term survivability have proven to be significant challenges. Both the aerospace and wind power generation sector have not yet been successful in addressing these challenges, so engineering solutions such as active de-icing by heating or by chemical bleed have been adopted. These add weight, cost, complexity and introduce additional maintenance requirements. Therefore passive solutions are seen as a key enabler for achieving long term-functional performance.

Erosion resistant coatings have been investigated in some depth with few showing any promise. Typically, the coating and substrate material have very different mechanical properties and this mismatch leads to considerable stresses at the interface leading to the failure of the coating and increased macro-scale roughness negatively affecting the aerodynamic performance. Similarly, passive anti-icing treatments are most frequently based on superhydrophobic coatings. All the recent reviews of the field have concluded that such approaches fundamentally lack durability.

Recent years have witnessed the emergence of self-healing materials as promising technologies towards property recovery system. However, existing alternatives exhibit a clear operational lack beyond their optimum conditions, thus hindering their implementation in current demanding applications.