This paper reports the application of superhydrophobic coatings on cotton fabrics and their functionalities for anti- and de-icing efficacy. Superhydrophobic cotton fabrics with different water-repellent properties have been achieved by decorating the surface of pristine cotton fibers with ZnO structures of varying sizes and shapes through an in situ solution growth process, followed by the treatment of the surface with low-surface-energy coating such as Teflon. The surface morphology of the treated cotton fabrics was characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The surface wettability of the treated fabrics was evaluated through the measurement of static contact angle (SCA), contact angle hysteresis (CAH), and sliding angle (SA) of a water droplet. The anti- and de-icing behaviors of the treated fabrics were evaluated through both static (sessile droplet) and dynamic (spraying) tests. The results show that the superhydrophobic fabric with a higher SCA and the lower CAH/SA has superior anti- and de-icing behaviors in both the static and dynamic conditions. Compared to hard substrates, the soft, flexible, and porous (air-permeable) superhydrophobic fabrics can lead to broader applicability of textile-based materials for the design and fabrication of anti- and de-icing materials. Furthermore, the multi-scale surface structures of fabrics (fibers, yarns, and weaving constructions) combining with the hierarchical micro-nanostructures of the ZnO coating provides an ideal platform for anti-icing studies.
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