Tuned sustainable anodic coatings for reduced ice adhesion
Abstract: Aluminum alloys are widely used materials in the aircraft industry due to their high specific strength and durability. The natural corrosion resistance of aluminum can be improved through an electrochemical anodizing process. Due to recent restrictions in the use of chromic acid with toxic hexavalent chromium as electrolyte, the industry has shifted towards the use of the functional comparable tartaric sulfuric acid (TSA). TSA anodizing provides a porous alumina layer with good corrosion resistance, yet there is a desire to tune the process to fit other purposes. For instance, ice accretion to aircraft surfaces implies a safety risk and reduced energy efficiency. Due to insufficient active anti-icing systems, aircraft manufacturers are in the search for passive anti-acing materials. The ice adhesion properties of a material are thought to be affected by wettability. In turn, the wettability is affected by the morphology of the alumina influenced by the anodizing conditions. Herein, the effects of the anodizing voltage, electrolyte temperature and anodizing time on the morphology and wettability of TSA-anodized aluminum alloy 2024-T3 were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and contact angle (CA) measurements. The morphology in relation to wettability and ice adhesion strength as well as the use of posttreatments such as hydrothermal sealing and silanization was investigated. SEM images show a clear influence by the anodizing conditions on the porosity, interpore distance and pore diameter of the porous alumina. The morphology has influence on the wettability although the relationship needs further investigation. A superhydrophobic surface obtained by silanization of a surface anodized at high voltage characterized by a rod-like morphology has potential as a passive anti-icing surface. Future work may include additional polishing pretreatments, testing of additional parameters, investigating the CA hysteresis and roll-off angle as well as measuring the adhesion strength of high-impact ice. By tuning the morphology of sustainable anodic coatings, the research area is one step closer to implementing passive anti-icing materials in aircrafts.
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