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Novel method for de-icing/anti-icing to improve significantly the coating adhesion, coating thickness uniformity and deposition efficiency

Challenges in thermal spray coating of composites

  • Aircraft icing is those atmospheric conditions that can lead to the formation of water ice on the surfaces of an aircraft. About 10.5 % of total weather accidents result from icing.
  • In the last decades, the application of composites in different industries, especially the aerospace industry, has been increased significantly due to their specific characteristics, such as a high strength to weight ratio.
  • As polymeric composite materials comprise a high percentage of the structure of modern aircrafts and wind turbines, designing an appropriate de-icing and anti-icing system for such composite structures has a high level of importance.
  • Electro-thermal de-icing systems use electrical resistance heaters in different forms, for example wire, film, or foil for heating and de-icing the components of an airplane or wind-turbine.
  • The electro-thermal heaters start heating the components as soon as an electrical current is applied to them.
  • Electro-thermal de-icers generally have high efficiency as the generated heat in these systems flows directly into the accumulated ice. It also has been reported that using such de-icing systems extracts about 35% less power from the aircraft engines compared to conventional pneumatic systems.
  • The number of research studies has been done up to now about the thermal spray coating of composites are very low, and in most cases, low melting-point metallic powders have been used as the coating materials for spraying the composites

New design/method for metal-coated composite substrate

  • A novel method for fabrication of an electro-thermal heating element, as de-icer or anti-icer, for the polymer-based composites.
  • Using plasma spray technique for the deposition of a Nickel-Chrome-Aluminum-Yttrium (NiCrAlY) coating layer as a heating-element on top of the glass/epoxy composite.
  • Adding a woven wire stainless steel mesh to the composite substrates during the composite fabrication process to improve the adhesion strength and deposition efficiency of the coatings and to protect the composite fibers during grit blasting and spraying.
  • Using two types of woven wire (200 and 400 mesh cloths) and two types of NiCrAlY powder with the fine and coarse particle size distributions.
  • Identifying good processing parameters for grit blasting and plasma spraying by making different samples.
  • Technology developed by Prof. Mehdi Hojjati, Prof. Christian Moreau, Prof. Ali Dolatabadi, and Alireza Rahimi (Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering, Concordia University).

Competitive advantages    

  • The surface modification method applied to the composite substrates prior to the coating process makes a significant improvement in the coating thickness uniformity and deposition efficiency.
  • The incorporation of the stainless steel mesh cloths to the composite structure not only improved the coating adhesion and deposition efficiency significantly but also played the role of armor for the composite part and protected the composite fibers from the impact of high-velocity particles during grit blasting and spraying.
  • The coating adhesion strength showed that the coating bonding strength in the cases in which the 200 mesh composite was used as the substrate is very high.
  • The adhesion strength values obtained were about 50% higher than the adhesion strength values reported for the coated composites in the literature.
  • All the coated samples have the capability of generating intensity more than the amount of intensity required for de-icing applications.
  • The 200 steel mesh cloth used just adds 0.28 kg/m2 to the weight of the substrate, while the equipment used in other de-icing systems (like bleed air de-icing system) adds hundreds of pounds of weight to the aircraft.

Market applications

  • Wind turbines
  • Aerospace
  • Communication equipment
  • Construction

Business opportunity

  • Technology available for licensing
  • Canadian patent application filed
  • US Provisional patent application filed


If you are interested by this technology, please contact :
Jean-Philippe Valois, Director Business Development, Engineering, (514) 575-0425


Concordia University

Main inventors


Mehdi Hojjati, Professor, Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Hojjati received his Ph.D. from Concordia University, Department of Mechanical and Engineering, Canada in 1994, his M.Sc. and B.Sc. from Sharif University of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Iran in 1989 and 1986 respectively. In 2012 he joined Concordia University as an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering. Before joining Concordia, he was working at National Research Council Canada (NRC) as a group leader and project manager, during which he developed and implemented a composite manufacturing program. He was also involved in many industrial collaborative projects including composite fuselage, helicopter tailboom and Isogrid structures. He received his Ph.D. from Concordia University in 1994.


Christian Moreau, Professor and Concordia Research Chair- Tier I, Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Christian Moreau is Full Professor at Concordia University. He is an internationally recognized leader in surface engineering. His areas of expertise include nanostructured coatings by suspension thermal spray; development of in-flight particle diagnostic systems; on-line control of spray processes for improved consistency; and industrial applications of coatings and surface treatments. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Thermal Spray and Surface Engineering and leads the NSERC Strategic Network on Green Surface Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing (2017-2022). He has been Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Thermal Spray Technology from 2004 to 2016. Dr. Moreau is a Fellow of ASM Intl. and served as president of its Thermal Spray Society (TSS) from 2014-2016. He was elected a member of the TSS Hall of Fame (2013), the highest international distinction in this domain.


Ali Dolatabadi, Professor and Concordia Research Chair- Tier I, Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Dolatabadi is the Tier 1 Concordia University Research Chair Professor in Multiphase Flow and Thermal Spray.  He co-directs the Thermal Spray and Multiphase Flow Laboratory at Concordia University and has established research collaborations with a number of industry partners including Pratt & Whitney Canada, Bombardier Aerospace, Siemens Canada (formerly Rolls-Royce Canada) and Airbus. Dr. Dolatabadi is the recipient of Young Research Achievement Award, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University in and NSERC-Discovery Accelerator Supplement (DAS). In 2010, he was elected Fellow of CSME and became a member of Provost’s Circle of Distinction. He served as the President of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME) from 2014 to 2016. Dr. Dolatabadi is the recipient of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science Teaching Excellence Award, 2016-2017 and President’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018. Currently, he is the President-Elect of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC).


Alireza Rahimi , Researcher, Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering

Alireza Rahimi is a mechanical designer and is currently working in an international consulting engineering firm, Mott MacDonald. He received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Concordia University in 2019 and his bachelor’s degree from Sharif University of Technology in 2017. His areas of expertise include thermal spray coatings, composite manufacturing, additive manufacturing, microfluidics, heat transfer, and BIM modeling.