• Chengxing Lian

Student thesis: Phd


Accumulation of ice or snow on overhead lines can significantly threaten the stability and safety of power systems as a result of the extra weight. This can result in severe damage or the collapse of towers. Surface treatments that claim to be superhydrophobic or icephobic have been attracting a great deal of attention for their anti-icing, self-cleaning, noise- reducing, and anti-corrosion properties. If these surface treatments can be applied to overhead lines in a manner that reduces or delays ice accretion, significant improvements in the stability and durability of existing overhead lines can be achieved. New overhead line designs can also benefit from these surface treatments by reducing clearance requirements to allow lower-cost systems to be built. This research, inspired by the CIGRE TB 631, assesses the viability of the deployment of superhydrophobic surface treatments onto overhead line systems. The wettability performance of superhydrophobic surface treatments was characterised by contact angle measurements. A manual zoomed-in computing method was developed to improve the accuracy of these contact angle measurements. Water drop behaviour on superhydrophobic surfaces was examined under a high-speed camera. The fabrication & application method of various surface treatments were optimised using different parameters to achieve optimal performance with high reproducibility and feasibility. Overall, high levels of superhydrophobicity with low surface hysteresis were achieved on substrates by deploying different protective coatings and laser patterns. Taking into account the need to examine ageing behaviours of surface treatments before deployment, a range of ageing tests were designed and conducted, including thermal ageing/cycling, ultraviolet exposure, corona exposure, and outdoor environmental exposure. The laser patterning technique was proven to be more robust and durable than the protective coatings used in this research. Each laser patterned sample retained a high level of superhydrophobicity after most of the ageing tests, while different levels of degradation were observed on the samples with protective coatings. In addition, the benefits and applications of surface treatments on overhead line systems were discussed, including anti-icing, anti- frosting, audible noise reduction, and heat dissipation improvement.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Cotton (Supervisor) & Simon Rowland (Supervisor)


  • contact angle
  • ice accretion
  • power system
  • durability
  • anti-icing
  • noise reduction
  • conductor
  • heat dissipation
  • ageing
  • surface treatment
  • laser patterning
  • coating
  • overhead line
  • icephobic
  • superhydrophobic

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