Icephobic coatings are being investigated as functional coatings for laminar flow. The coatings are intended to support the wing ice protection systems by reducing the formation or adhesion of ice and consequently reducing the energy requirements of the system. Currently, the most comprehensive method for measuring and understanding the icephobic nature of a coating is by performing icing wind tunnel tests. These tests require large dedicated wind tunnel facilities and would be too costly and impractical for production batch quality control and release testing purposes. For this reason a significant part of the research is dedicated to the development of suitable ‘bench top’ test methods that will allow accurate measurement of the icephobic nature of a coating, providing an indication of the long term icing performance of the tested surface.
GKN intends to achieve this goal by determining the key contributing attributes to icephobicity of a surface and generating a predictive model, where predictions of performance can be derived from results of readily-available laboratory analytical techniques. This has not been achieved in entirety before and so to mitigate risk GKN will also attempt to develop in tandem a bench top ice adhesion test method which provides the same order of results as would be observed in an icing wind tunnel.
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