Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


InAIPS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 326006
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: Germany

Smarter ice detection

An EU team further developed two existing aircraft ice sensors and created a third. The systems effectively detect ice via its optical effects, using algorithms to calculate thickness and predict aerodynamic consequences.
Smarter ice detection
Modern aircraft fly at high altitude, where the air is very cold; hence, aircraft wings are prone to icing, which affects safety and efficiency. Current ice detectors are seldom located on wings, leading to ice protection systems being activated before needed, causing further inefficiencies.

The EU-funded INAIPS (Innovative aircraft ice protection system – Sensing and modelling) project aimed to improve automatic ice detection and assessment systems. The consortium, part of Europe's very large Clean Sky programme, extended technologies created by earlier projects, including ACIDS and ON-WINGS. INAIPS goals included development of a system model for ice detection and protection, refinement of sensing technologies and modelling the impact of ice on flight.

Team members advanced several existing ice detection sensors. The first detects icing via its optical effects, specifically backscatter and reflection. Researchers mounted the sensor in two positions on a wing's leading edge. A second, quasi-distributed sensor type detects ice by measuring optical losses.

The consortium created a third, novel type of optical sensor that indicates the presence of ice behind the erosion shield. The sensor performed well in testing, but still requires further development.

Project members devised a data acquisition system consisting of 24 photodiodes. Researchers also extended ice detection algorithms first created by ON-WINGS. Testing demonstrated effective determination of ice thickness, although the system was less able to assess the type of ice under glaze ice conditions.

A further development involved a graphical user interface. The subsystem shows ice-affected parts of a wing and changes to aerodynamic characteristics. The interface has additional uses in simulation and modelling.

Researchers combined all components into a complete system. The algorithm processes sensor data, calculating ice thickness while also evaluating ice type depending on temperature and other parameters. The collated information predicts how icing may aerodynamically affect an aircraft. Even a thin ice layer can drastically increase drag and reduce lift.

INAIPS achievements promise improvements to safety, while superior fuel efficiency will have environmental benefits. In either case, the work means opportunity for Europe's aviation sector.

Related information


Ice detection, aircraft, optical effects, aerodynamic, icing, ice protection, sensing
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