Winter air travel can get complicated when temperatures dip below freezing. Ensuring that an airplane is free of ice is a critical but expensive and time-consuming part of the process before take-off.

But several groups of researchers are working on innovative solutions to icy conditions, and both Japanese researchers and a team at the University of Michigan announced projects in the past week that could eventually make deicing a thing of the past.

Japanese researchers announced the development of a gel coating — which was partially inspired by the secretion of slugs — that becomes liquid-like when temperatures drop below freezing, making surfaces on the plane so slippery that ice cannot adhere to it. As temperatures rise, the liquid turns back into a gel. Read more…

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Researchers work on ways to keep planes ice-free