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AIRCRAFT ICING LAB

Icing Research Group

JPEG ImageDr. Michael Papadakis is the director of the Aicraft Icing Lab at WSU. The Icing Lab consists of the director, two research scientiests, a senior research associate and a team of dedicated researchers. 

Partners: The Aircraft Icing Lab works closely with local aviation companies such as Cessna Aircraft and Hawker Beechcraft, and governmental agencies such as the FAA and NASA Glenn Research Center, in providing expertise and research skills in the field of icing and ice protection system engineering. They also collaborate with national universities from Illinois, Ohio and Iowa, and international universities such as Cranfield and the University of London in United Kingdom. The Aircraft Icing Lab also contributes to the Ice Protection Harmonization Working Group (IPHWG) and the AC-9C Aircraft Icing Technology Sub-Committee. The latest contribution involves an advanced research program on Supercooled Large Droplet (SLD) Icing.

Expertise: The range of experience residing within the Icing Group can vary from aerodynamic testing of an iced airfoil in a wind tunnel, droplet impingement measurement with laser, casting of ice shapes, CFD analysis, heat transfer studies in an anti-ice protection systems to Supercooled Large Droplet (SLD) research. The group also uses a number of national and international test facilities for conducting icing research, for example, the 40-ft x 80-ft NASA Ames Wind Tunnel, the 6-ft x 9-ft NASA Glenn Research Center Icing Research Tunnel (IRT), icing tunnels at Cox & Company and Goodrich Corporation, the Birhle’s Large-Amplitude-Multi-Purpose Vertical Tunnel in Germany, and our own 7-ft x 10-ft wind tunnel at Wichita State University. A range of different test models such as the full-scale business jet horizontal tail, 5-ft span business jet wing, three-element high lift wing, engine nacelle, S-duct engine inlet and a range of 2D airfoils such as NLF-0414, NACA 65-415, GLC-305 and MS-317 had been used in the above test facilities. Other research such as the thermal anti-ice protection systems requires a different kind of test facility, one that can provide high-volume airflow rates and heated to about 600°F. In these kinds of tests, the research program tends to be propriety and funded by the local aviation companies, who also have access to these unique facilities. However, main experimental experiences were gained from using standard instrumentations such as data acquisition system, LWC probes such as King and Nevzerov probes, and droplet sizing equipment such as PDPA, FSSP and OAP.

Software: The Icing Group also utilizes a suite of commercial softwares for conducting icing research, for example, LEWICE, FLUENT, STAR-CD, NASTRAN, XFOIL, ARC-2D, CMARC, FLOWMASTER and MSC.Easy5. These softwares were used to analyze the aerodynamic characteristics of an iced wing and airfoil, optimize the design of hot-air anti-icing system, conduct fundamental studies into droplet splashing and breakup, and to predict ice shapes on airfoil. Special purpose computer codes have also been developed in-house to predict the trajectory of shed ice particles from an aircraft, to compute the mass of water ejected by water droplets after impinging with a surface and to study the electro-magnetic effects on helicopters. Other more specialized software was developed by Wichita State University to work with CHIMERA grids for solving complex flows using the CRTVD scheme.

Associates: The Icing Group also works with a team of highly skilled machinists who have been credited with the fabrication a three-dimensional complex wing structure for the wind tunnel, amongst many other test objects. The group also works closely with the wind tunnel staff, which provides the expertise for conducting aerodynamic tests at Wichita State University.