in Aerospace

Queen’s researchers develop ice build-up prevention solution for aircraft

Posted 26 November 2018 · Add Comment

Queen’s University Belfast researchers are preparing for winter and have developed a new system to prevent ice from building up on aircraft.


 
Above: Multi-walled Carbon nanotube.

When a plane travels through clouds in cold weather, layers of ice can form on its wings, propellers or jet intakes. This can increase drag and reduce lift, which may lead to loss of control of the aircraft. A number of fatal aircraft accidents have been attributed to the build-up of ice over wing surfaces.

The conventional anti-icing system on most passenger aircraft is based on hot air which is ‘bled’ from the engines and piped to the inner surface of the wing. The heat is then transferred to the outer surface by thermal conduction, which stops the ice from building. This system adds weight and maintenance requirements, and is not energy efficient, particularly on the new generation of composite aircraft.

A team of experts at Queen’s have developed a more efficient alternative – an ultra-light weight heater, based on ‘webs’ made from carbon nanotubes (CNT) - which can also be used for de-icing.

Professor Brian Falzon, from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering led the Queen’s team to the discovery and the research has been published in the journal Carbon.

He explains: “This research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and forms part of a larger research programme aimed at developing the aircraft structures of tomorrow. We started by creating a ‘CNT web’, where individual CNTs are aligned in the draw direction, and horizontally stacking 10-40 layers of the webs, at different orientations, to achieve the desired heating characteristics.

“Each layer of CNT web can be as thin as 1/2000 the thickness of a human hair and the weight of a web large enough to cover a football field would be less than 30 sheets of A4 photocopy paper.

“These CNT webs were cured within a thin glass fibre laminate to provide structural support, and connected to a power supply.”

Professor Falzon continues: “When we carried out testing, we discovered that the newly developed CNT heaters achieved rapid heating which shows that the CNT heaters could quickly de-ice aircraft and provide effective ice protection in flight.”

Dr Xudan Yao, a PhD student from China, worked on the project under the supervision of Professor Falzon and Professor Stephen Hawkins. She said: “Compared with state-of-the-art heating systems currently used on aircraft, the CNT heater that we have created at Queen’s is lighter, provides rapid and more uniform heating and is more energy efficient. It is also more flexible in terms of fitting the shape and performance of any surface or power requirement to achieve rapid anti-icing and de-icing.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Woodford Engineering Consultancy wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise

It was announced today that aerospace engineering company, Woodford Engineering Consultancy, has been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade.

Air Partner appoints Kevin Macnaughton as Managing Director, Charter

Air Partner plc has announced the appointment of Kevin Macnaughton as Managing Director, Charter, with immediate effect.

ADDEV Materials Group acquires Graytone Group and its subsidiaries Pexa and PSG

ADDEV Materials Group has acquired the Graytone Group and its subsidiaries Pexa and PSG, which are companies specialising in services and distribution of surface treatments, coatings, chemicals, composites and other materials,

TBAT Innovation opens office in Oxford

East Midlands based TBAT Innovation Ltd have opened a second office, which is located in the heart of Oxford.

Teledyne Defence & Space win Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Teledyne Defence & Space (TDS), a business unit of Teledyne UK, has won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019 for International Trade.

Airbus selects Fly Your Ideas team finalists

Airbus experts have selected seven teams for the 2019 final of the Fly Your Ideas competition, which invites students from around the world to innovate in key areas for the industry (Electrification, Data Services, Cyber Security,

See us at
ARAS BT2802140519SMIFAVWS BT1302060619