MS Thesis Defense: Travis Kuster

Friday, April 27, 2018, 1:00–3:00pm

MacLean ESC B01 (Zaleski Auditorium)

“Development of a Transparent Thin Film De-icing System”


Ice and snow can accumulate on tall buildings and fall off, creating a danger to pedestrians. Tall buildings in crowded cities present the highest risk since the ice can fall into densely populated pedestrian areas that can be difficult to close. In addition, energy-efficient building envelopes that reduce heat loss result in colder façade temperatures which encourages accumulation. Existing thermal solutions rely on continuous heating and use too much energy to be feasible for large areas. Intermittent deicing methods, such as Pulse Electro Thermal Deicing (PETD), rely on a shorter, high powered heating pulse to shed accumulations before they reach dangerous levels. Since the duration of each heating pulse is short, the system uses significantly less total energy. Additionally, since each section only needs to heat for a few minutes at a time, the control system can be designed to cycle through different sections of the building, allowing the entire system to function on limited available power. Development of a suitable heat delivery system is necessary to implement PETD on a large scale. This thesis focuses on the development of a transparent heating system designed as a retrofit solution for glass building facades. The final outcome, a prototype of a transparent thin film heating system, proved effective but illuminated issues with building integration for retrofit systems. Future work on PETD development will allow tall buildings to be built in colder climates without increasing the risk of falling snow and ice.

Thesis Committee

For more information, contact Daryl Laware at