Bitumen Based Intrinsically Icephobic Road Surfaces

Driven by recently improved understanding of superhydrophobicity and the increasing availability of technologies to realize it for surfaces with direct societal and industrial relevance, the next emerging frontier is to develop a science base for icephobic road surfaces, going beyond traditional periodic application of chemical treatments. The aim of this proposal is to advance our fundamental knowledge of ice formation and ice adhesion on road surfaces, a topic which carries with it significant challenges but also obvious significant benefits.

This cooperative PhD project between the Empa lab for Road Engineering/Sealing Components and Prof. Dr. Dimos Poulikakos chair for thermodynamics ETH Zurich is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) and brings together the necessary scientific knowhow to takle this important societal challenge.


Project Period

May 2017 - May 2021

Illustration of icephobic road surfaces: changes at the microscale affect the in-situ performance
Figure overview of the research plan: fundamental study of ice formation and retardation on modified bitumen mastics, modified aggregates and their combination will be combined with requirements for durability, safety and environmental