NASA’s airframe icing research involves the development of tools and methods for evaluating and simulating the growth of ice on current and future aircraft surfaces and the effects that ice may have on the behavior of aircraft in flight. Investigating ice that formed on the external surfaces of a vehicle in flight is how it … Continued
NASA’s icing research involves the development of tools and methods for evaluating and simulating the growth of ice on current and future aircraft surfaces or inside the engines and the effects that ice may have on the behavior of aircraft in flight.
At NASA Glenn Research Center, “We Freeze to Please”.
Our icing research teams utilize a refrigerated wind tunnel, an engine test cell, and small scale laboratories to create icing conditions for models and airfoils on the ground, as well as flying laboratories to study aircraft icing in the sky. They have also developed software tools to help predict ice growth and the effects of ice contamination on aircraft or inside of engines. The icing research conducted at NASA leads to developed and validated simulation methods, both computational and experimental, suitable for use as both certification and design tools when evaluating aircraft systems for operation in icing conditions. We are challenged to look forward to new technologies being developed and consider what potential issues may arise related to flight into icing.
NASA began icing testing in 1944 with the completion of its Icing Research Tunnel – the longest running and second largest icing facility in the world. Most ice protection technologies in use today were largely developed at this facility. We have provided information over the years that informed regulatory agencies on the range of icing conditions – via flight, ground, engineering tools, and databases, most recently for Supercooled Large Droplets (SLD) and High Ice Water Content (HIWC). As such, NASA leads international research on aircraft and engine icing, contributing to an increase in aircraft safety.
Aircraft Icing Research
NASA has been performing experimental efforts aimed at providing datasets that can be used to generate models to predict the ice accretion inside current and future engine designs. Ice crystals found at high altitude near convective clouds are known to cause jet engine power-loss events. These events occur due to ice crystals entering a propulsion … Continued
NASA has been performing computational and experimental efforts to look at the unique requirements of rotorcraft when exposed to icing conditions in flight. As part of the research portfolio in icing, NASA has investigated various aspects of rotorcraft icing over the years. Rotorcraft can be more susceptible to the adverse effects of icing than large … Continued
Icing Research Facilities
Built in the 1940s, the Flight Research Building (Hangar) is a 65 X 250 ft. heated facility that is large enough to hold numerous aircraft of various sizes. It has been home to many unique and innovative aircraft over the years. Home to many unique and innovative aircraft, the Flight Research Building, also known as … Continued
NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Icing Research Tunnel supports the development of tools and methods for simulating the growth of ice on aircraft surfaces as well as the development and certification of ice protection systems. The Icing Research Tunnel (IRT) is the longest running, second largest icing facility in the world and has been in operation … Continued
The Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL) is NASA’s only ground-based test facility that provides true flight simulation for experimental research on air-breathing propulsion systems. The PSL has recently added the capability to simulate clouds of ice crystals and liquid water droplets. The Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL) complex provides world-class test and evaluation capabilities in support of … Continued
The icing research team at NASA makes a wide selection of its varied training products, documents, and software codes available. Users are encouraged to explore the links listed below to locate technical documents, presentations, icing software applications, and icing related training products.
A collection of documents created by the icing research team at NASA has been made available. Users can view an abstract of selected articles with further links to the complete paper. Complete articles are offered in PDF format.
In flight ice accretion is a weather related hazard that has the potential to cause reduced performance or even failure of various aircraft components. Engineers at NASA have developed the LEWICE codes, which simulate how the water droplets from a cloud impact and grow ice on vehicles in flight. This allows for icing related analysis … Continued
A couple of high quality education and training aids for pilots on various aspects of flight in icing conditions have been produced by NASA in conjunction with government and industry experts. These products are free online and have been widely used by the worldwide aviation community. A Pilot’s Guide to Ground Icing: A free on-line … Continued