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Icing Research Tunnel

NASA Glenn Research Centers 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.

Facility Overview

Common Research Model
Common Research Model, CRM, in the Icing Research Tunnel

The Icing Research Tunnel (IRT) is the longest running, 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 produced to test the effects of icing conditions on 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.

Frank G. Jackson Icing Research Tunnel
Cleveland Mayor, Frank G. Jackson, tours the Icing Research Tunnel

The IRT can produce 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 between 0.15 and 4.0 g/m3 can be produced to form an icing cloud. The 6 feet high, 9 feet wide, 20 feet 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.

Quick Facts

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)
Airspeed 50 to 325 knots
Water Droplets 15 to 275microns


Test Chamber Dimensions

Performance and Capability

Imaging Technology


Icing Research Tunnel
Facility Manager: Dennis Eck

Test Facility Management Branch
Branch Chief: Michael S. McVetta

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