Functional coatings with anti-ice effect

Environmental simulation for testing and inspection of anti-ice coatings

© Fraunhofer IFAM
Iced leading edge of a wing in the ice wind tunnel of Fraunhofer IFAM.

For the characterization of surfaces, laboratory tests under reproducible icing conditions are necessary to investigate ice formation and ice adhesion strength. This provides material developers with initial information on the performance of the surfaces. Fraunhofer IFAM determines the potential of newly developed icephobic coatings in application-specific laboratory tests.


Customized icephobic coatings

The portfolio of coating technologies is defined by customer-specific requirements as well as relevant icing conditions. This includes the following coatings:

  • hydrophobic,
  • superhydrophobic,
  • nano- and microstructured,
  • ultra-smooth,
  • slip-promoting,
  • freezing point lowering.

The goals are to prevent ice formation, remove formed ice or increase the efficiency of heating and mechanically based ice protection systems.


Material development for anti-icing coatings

The department "Paint and Lacquer Technology" of Fraunhofer IFAM offers material development according to customer-specific requirement profiles. The tool box includes:

  • sol-gels,
  • polyurethanes,
  • SLIPS (Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces),
  • silane-, siloxane- and fluorine-based materials,
  • elastomers and
  • temporary freezing point lowering coatings.

Our R&D services range from material screening to the development of a guide formulation and are aimed at raw material and coating manufacturers as well as potential end users of anti-icing coatings. Fraunhofer IFAM also has numerous testing facilities for anti-icing coatings under realistic environmental conditions.


The development of anti-icing coatings and icing tests is part of the work on functional coatings carried out by the "Paint and Lacquer Technology" department at Fraunhofer IFAM. The experience gained from publicly funded projects in the application fields of aviation, wind energy, automotive and rail vehicle construction, as well as refrigeration and air conditioning technology is used by Nadine Rehfeld to make significant contributions to international committee work on test standards and the definition of design and material specifications.


Current projects

As part of the EU-funded Carbo4Power project (H2020), Fraunhofer IFAM is developing multifunctional coatings whose long-term durability is being designed for use on rotor blades of wind turbines as well as tidal power plants.  

In the AiF project TURBO,temporary ice protection coatings are being developed by IFAM's paint technology to prevent icing of rotor blades during a winter season and can be applied using drones.



The standard work on functional coatings:

Stenzel, V. and Rehfeld, N. (2013): Functional Coatings, Paint and Varnish Edition, Vincentz Network, Hannover, Germany.

Our experts are constantly developing and testing new anti-icing coatings. Read more in our latest publications.

More information