Anti-Icing LED Light Covers for Railroad Safety

There is a growing trend to use highly efficient light emitting diode (LED) lights on railroad signals. Although LEDs would save energy, there is the issue of snow and ice build-up on the signals which prevents them from being seen from the streets or railroad tracks. This makes the traffic control signal unreadable and represents a tremendous safety issue for train operators and the public. The build-up of ice results from the LED’s low thermal output which prevents ice and snow on the lens cover from melting. The objective of this proposal is to functionalize the plastic lenses that cover railroad transportation signals to make them anti-icing. The principal investigator (PI) proposes to perform research on using femtosecond laser surface processing (FLSP) to produce antiwetting surfaces on hard materials, such as tungsten carbide (WC), which will be used as a very hard and durable stamp to then imprint a superhydrophobic (anti-icing) surface on the lens of a traffic signal. Task 1 will be to functionalize very hard materials, such as WC, to produce a durable and long-lasting surface. The FLSP process will only alter the top 50-100 microns (a human hair is 100 microns) of the WC surface. Therefore, a large amount of time will be spent investigating the best FLSP surface to act as the stamp. Task 2 will be to use FLSP-functionalized hard materials as a stamp and transfer micron/nanoscale features to the plastic traffic signal material. The first year of research will be conducted on flat plastic samples. Plastic samples containing the imprinted structures will be analyzed for anti-icing properties using procedures and equipment currently used to study anti-icing of 7075 aircraft aluminum for Boeing. In Task 3, drop wettability and anti-icing studies will be conducted on surfaces that have the best superhydrophobic properties.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $108375
  • Contract Numbers:

    DTRT13-G-UTC59

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    1400 R Street
    Lincoln, NE  United States  68588

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    1400 R Street
    Lincoln, NE  United States  68588
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    1400 R Street
    Lincoln, NE  United States  68588
  • Principal Investigators:

    Alexander, Dennis

    Zuhlke, Craig

  • Start Date: 20161001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01616218
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Center for Railway Safety
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC59
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 11 2016 11:40AM