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Icephobic Coatings - Development of test methods

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Keeping back the ice

An EU team developed a method for simulating wind-tunnel tests on aircraft anti-icing coatings. A benchtop machine was designed and successfully built, which reliably predicts both testing and real-world outcomes.

Energy

Wing-icing during flight is an old and well-known threat to aviation safety, yet standard methods of removal affect aircraft performance. Newer methods involve anti-icing coatings, but testing involves expensive wind-tunnel testing, meaning late testing and suboptimal products. The EU-funded ICECODE (Icephobic coatings – development of test methods) project aimed to develop an alternative. The proposal entailed developing an efficient laboratory testing method, intended to predict anti-icing performance in a wind-tunnel. Such a result would accelerate screening, development and optimisation. The undertaking ran from May 2013 to December 2014. The project took two approaches, the first being creation of a physical and chemical model predicting ice adhesion. To achieve this objective, the team characterised the surface of a coated test plate, comparing such data from those obtained from wind-tunnel icing tests. ICECODE did not fully achieve a validated model. However, the project's results may help other teams achieve the goal in future. A second approach involved development of a method employing a benchtop icing and ice-adhesion testing device. The machine was successfully designed, manufactured and verified. Results adequately represent both wind-tunnel and natural icing conditions, although the capabilities of the equipment have yet to be fully determined. The ICECODE project has successfully developed a device for laboratory testing aircraft anti-icing coatings. Such testing helped to shorten verification of such materials, helping ultimately to improve aircraft performance and safety.

Keywords

Icing, aircraft, coatings, prediction, wind-tunnel

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