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 since 1944. Most ice protection technologies in use today were largely developed at this facility. In this facility, natural icing conditions are duplicated to test the effects of in-flight icing conditions on actual aircraft components such as wings tails and engine inlets.
A variety of tests are performed in the IRT including fundamental studies of icing physics, icing prediction validation, and ice protection system development and certification. These tests have been used successfully to reduce flight test hours for ice detection instrumentation and ice protection systems certification.
The IRT can produce continuous airspeeds from 50 to 325 knots and temperatures as low as -35°C year-round, controllable to within 0.5 degree Celsius. Supercooled water droplets between 15 and 275 microns with water content controllable between 0.15 and 4.0 g/m3 can be produced to form an icing cloud. The 6 ft. high, 9 ft. wide, 20 ft long test section can accommodate many full-sized aircraft components as well as large-scale models and an 8.6 ft diameter turntable in the test section can rotate horizontally +/-20 degrees for various angles of attack for various angles of attack.
|Name||Icing Research Tunnel|
|Type||Closed-return, atmospheric-type wind tunnel|
|Test Section||6-ft high by 9-ft wide by 20-ft long|
|Temperature||5°C (total) to -35°C (static), (year round)|
|Airspeed||50 to 325 knots (continuous)|
|Water Droplets||15 to 275 microns|
|Facility Manager||John.R.Oldenburg @nasa.gov|
- Type: Closed-return, atmospheric-type wind tunnel
- Refrigerated for all-year operation
Test Chamber Dimensions
- Height: 6 ft.
- Width: 9 ft.
- Length: 20 ft.
- Model delivery access door – 10.5 ft. w by 10.67 ft. high
- Balance chamber access door – 9.08 ft. w by 8.25 ft. high
- Diffuser access hatch – 8 ft. high by 10 ft. wide
- Personnel access door – 4.5 ft. wide by 5.25 ft. high
Performance and Capability
- Continuous air speeds from 50 to 325 knots
- Year-round temperature as low as 35°C, controllable to +/-0.5°C
- Supercooled water droplets between 15 and 270 microns
- Water content controllable between 0.15 and 4.0 g/m3 can be produced to form an icing cloud 4.5 ft by 6 ft
- 8.6 ft. diameter turntable can be rotated ±20 degrees
- Video and still imaging cameras
- High-speed photography
- Standard flow visualization techniques
- Infrared thermography system
Icing Research Tunnel
Facility Manager: Jack Oldenburg
21000 Brookpark Rd., MS 6-8
Cleveland, Ohio 44135
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