Icing Research Tunnel
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, 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.
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 and275 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 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)|
|Airspeed||50 to 325 knots|
|Water Droplets||15 to 275microns|
Test Chamber Dimensions
- Height: 6 feet
- Width: 9 feet
- Length: 20 feet
Performance and Capability
- Air speeds from 50 to 325 knots
- Temperature as low as 35°C, controllable to +/-0.5°C
- Supercooled water droplets between 15 and270 microns
- Water content controllable between 0.15 and4.0 g/m3 can be produced to form an icing cloud 4.5 ft by 6 ft
- 8.6-foot 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: Dennis Eck
Test Facility Management Branch
Branch Chief: Michael S. McVetta
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