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DARPA Seeks to Protect Military Assets in Extreme Cold Weather Via ICE Program

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a four-year program that seeks to discover and optimize biologically sourced or inspired molecules that limit ice crystal growth, formation and adhesion to help develop technologies that could address operational challenges facing the Department of Defense in extreme cold environments.

Researchers under the three-phase Ice Control for cold Environments program will work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory to test and assess candidate molecules, DARPA said Tuesday.

“Insects, fish, plants and freeze-tolerant organisms have evolved natural mechanisms to prevent ice formation and thrive in extreme cold,” said Anne Cheever, ICE program manager.

“These properties could be leveraged as part of the ICE program to develop persistent anti-icing coatings for surfaces and even produce specialized small molecules that work synergistically with biodegradable antifreeze proteins,” Cheever added.

DARPA will hold a Proposers’ Day on Aug. 22th and accept proposal abstracts through Sept. 22th, according to a presolicitation notice.

Full proposals for the ICE program are due Nov. 8th.