Skating along

No doubt. Sliding down the street on a layer of ice is fun until you find yourself doing it in a car.  All by yourself, it might be a tough stop but for a while it is pretty cool.  Ice on the wing of a plane is bad news, and that is why in the winter time, airplanes need to be 'de-iced' which is where they pull the plane over and a person squirts lots of soapy stuff all over the plane.

Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh have been looking at nanoparticles as a way to prevent ice build up on just about any surface.  These particles make the surface 'superhydrophobic' meaning that they repeal water like a duck's back (and in fact that is the same kind of idea).  Ice is different than liquid water so these scientists needed to make a special coating, mainly a coating with nanoparticles that were less than 50 nanometers in size.  That means that about 2000 could fit across the width of a hair.  Outdoors this special nanoparticle coating prevented ice build up in chilly Pittsburgh. (see video).  So someday if this stuff can be made cheap enough it could be a great solution for a lot of surfaces.

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