Design rules for laser-treated icephobic metallic surfaces for aeronautic applications

Vittorio Vercillo*, Simone Tonnicchia, Jean-Michel Romano, Antonio Garcia Giron, Alfredo I. Aguilar-Morales, Sabri Alamri, Stefan Dimov, Tim Kunze, Andrés Lasagni, Elmar Bonaccurso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)
179 Downloads (Pure)


Ice accretion on external aircraft surfaces due to the impact of supercooled water droplets can negatively affect the aerodynamic performance and reduce the operational capability and, therefore, must be prevented. Icephobic coatings capable of reducing the adhesion strength of ice to a surface represent a promising technology to support thermal or mechanical ice protection systems. Icephobicity is similar to hydrophobicity in several aspects and superhydrophobic surfaces embody a straightforward solution to the ice adhesion problem. Short/ultrashort pulsed laser surface treatments are proposed as a viable technology to generate superhydrophobic properties on metallic surfaces. However, it has not yet been verified whether such surfaces are generally icephobic under representative icing conditions. This study investigates the ice adhesion strength on Ti6Al4V, an alloy commonly used for aerospace components, textured by means of direct laser writing, direct laser interference patterning, and laser-induced periodic surface structures laser sources with pulse durations ranging from nano- to femtosecond regimes. A clear relation between the spatial period, the surface microstructure depth, and the ice adhesion strength under different icing conditions is investigated. From these observations, a set of design rules can be defined for superhydrophobic surfaces that are icephobic, too.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1910268
Number of pages12
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number16
Early online date24 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Alexandre Laroche for his relevant work on this topic, Norbert Karpen and Alexandre Cuco for helping in the data analysis, and Max Kolb for the SEM pictures. V.V. and S.T. would like to thank Giovanni Pulci and Francesco Marra for the stimulating discussions. This research was carried out in the framework of the LASER4FUN project ( ), which has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska‐Curie Grant Agreement No. 675063.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • Icephobic
  • Icing
  • Laser processing
  • Micro-/Nano-Patterning
  • Superhydrophobic
  • micro/nanopatterning
  • laser processing
  • icephobic
  • icing
  • superhydrophobic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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