A major concern for planes in a harsh winter climate like our own is the threat of ice forming on the wings. This could potentially interfere with the lift caused by air passing over the wings and cause the plane to cease to function properly. Currently, ice is dealt with by spraying the wings with a deicing agent. This chemical lowers the melting point of the ice, causing it to melt. This process works most of the time, but it can be extremely expensive. That's why smart people have come up with a sophisticated system to cut costs. The wings would be coated in an extremely hydrophobic surface (a hydrophobic substance lacks the ability to hydrogen bond because it is non-polar and therefore does not experience an electrostatic force from the poles of the polar water molecules) causing the water to gather in little beads which would freeze in low temperatures. The wing would also have an inner layer that would detect this freezing and release antifreeze at those spots only. This would save airlines from having to deice the entire wing. Though this technology is ways away from coming to the Rochester airport, the current system works is just as effective and safe. While there might be delays and higher costs, it's worth it to know that safety is the top priority.
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