Simulation for Airfoil Ice Protection Systems

Domains of the mathematical model


Numerical Simulation of Coupled Heat and Mass Transfer for Airfoil Ice Protection Systems


The prevention of ice accretion on aircraft wings is an imperative concern for the aviation industry, with critical implications for both safety and efficiency. In another landmark contribution from ATS, the chapter titled “Numerical Simulation of Coupled Heat and Mass Transfer for Airfoil Ice Protection Systems” provides a robust solution to this challenge. Authored by a consortium of experts from ATS Aerothermal Solutions and prestigious academic institutions, this chapter is featured in “The Handbook of Numerical Simulation of In-Flight Icing” edited by W. G. Habashi and published by Springer Nature.


Ice Accretion


External icing on a pitot tube
External icing on a pitot tube


In aviation, ice accretion on airframes is a significant concern, impacting both civilian and military aircraft. Occurring when aircraft encounter supercooled water droplets, ice accretion can degrade aerodynamic performance, increase weight, and impair control.


Addressing these challenges requires meticulous analysis during aircraft development, identifying areas such as wings, engines, and inlets that need protection. Early analysis enables trade-off studies to balance factors like energy consumption, system function, and certification requirements.


Protection methods may include de-icing or anti-ice systems, each with specific operational considerations. Electrothermal anti-ice systems, operating under various regimes, are vital, and understanding water flow dynamics over airfoils is key to their effectiveness.


With the rise of electric airplanes, electro-thermal anti-ice systems have become a focal point. Robust numerical simulations and validated codes are essential for their design, development, and certification. The integration of these components helps ensure safe flight under diverse icing conditions, showcasing the complexity of modern aviation technology.


Anti-Ice Thermal Model


Domains of the mathematical model
Domains of the mathematical model


The Anti-ice Thermal Model is one of the key highlights of the chapter. This model is not only a novel approach but a comprehensive framework that promises precision and efficiency in understanding surface ice protection systems. Here’s a detailed look into this significant aspect:


Introduction and Background:


Building on foundational research by Guilherme Silva, ATS CEO, and others, the Anti-ice Thermal Model introduces enhanced considerations for complex dynamics like rivulet effects. The model’s primary purpose is to accurately predict surface temperatures, analyze the behavior of water flow on the surface, and calculate freezing rates – all crucial for aircraft safety and performance.


Key Features of the Anti-Ice Thermal Model:


• Five domains:
· Freestream flow: The general flow of the air over the surface.
· Gaseous flow: Concerned with the flow and behavior of gases.
· Momentum or thermal boundary layers: Critical layers impacting heat transfer and fluid dynamics.
· Water flow: A detailed study of water behavior on the surface.
· Solid surface: Interaction and behavior of solid surfaces with other domains.


The integration of thermodynamics, mass conservation, convection heat transfer, and water evaporation mass flux into a mathematical model represents the technological advancement in aircraft safety. Utilizing specialized techniques like Eckert’s work, this model effectively evaluates water thermodynamics properties and provides insight into fluid behavior in various scenarios. This comprehensive approach demonstrates the aviation industry’s continued commitment to safety and efficiency, particularly in the face of the challenges posed by ice accretion on aircraft.


Runback Water Hydrodynamics Model


Film flow, rupture, and rivulets
Film flow, rupture, and rivulets


This section of the chapter delves into the Runback Water Hydrodynamics Model, a crucial part of understanding how water behaves on surfaces, especially in a context where ice formation is a potential hazard.


• Water Film Model:
This model closely analyzes the water flow along the aircraft’s surface, a pivotal aspect in ice protection systems. It includes calculations for the water film’s velocity profile and thickness, helping in understanding how water moves and behaves, directly influencing ice prevention measures.


• Film Breakdown Criterion:
A thorough exploration of film breakdown is made, focusing on the Minimum Total Energy (MTE) criterion. It incorporates complex thermodynamic principles and equations that seek essential variables, like the maximum film thickness and the radius of rivulets at the position of film rupture.


• Water Rivulets Model:
This portion elucidates the formation, flow, and surface interaction of small water streams (rivulets). It provides an in-depth view of how water transitions from film flow to rivulets and considers factors like surface tension and droplet coalescence.


Momentum and Thermal Boundary-Layer Models


Understanding the dynamics of heat and mass transfer from the airfoil surface is a vital part of aircraft safety and performance. The chapter provides comprehensive coverage of these aspects, shedding light on:


• Heat and Mass Transfer Modeling:
· A critical exploration of the heated surface’s influence on heat flux by convection.
· Liquid water flow and evaporation, and their complexities in transfer mechanisms.
• Mass Evaporation Flow:
· Detailed insight into mass evaporation flow and how it’s closely linked to the heat transfer coefficient and temperature difference.
• Various Analytical Approaches:
· Inclusion of models by esteemed researchers like Kays and Crawford, with explanations of both laminar and turbulent regimes.
• Practical Considerations and Mathematical Solutions:
· Providing robust understanding through various equations, solutions, and approximations, considering both laminar and turbulent flow regimes.


The chapter’s detailed exposition of these models does more than offer theoretical insight; it provides practical tools that engineers, researchers, and policymakers can use to enhance aviation safety and advance the technology that safeguards our skies. The collaboration between theory and application exemplifies the interplay that continues to shape the industry and our world.


Final Thoughts


Convective mass transfer model applied to anti-ice simulation
Convective mass transfer model applied to anti-ice simulation


The anti-ice simulations detailed in the chapter are validated using experimental data, demonstrating the accuracy and robustness of the models. Key highlights of this analysis include integration of advanced concepts, innovations in model design, complex multi-physics modeling, and robust validation.


Implications for Industry and Society


This research not only ensures compliance with regulations but also promises a decrease in required icing tunnel and flight tests, contributing to enhanced industry efficiency and societal safety.


The chapter underlines a milestone in airfoil ice protection systems, weaving intricate mathematical modeling with practical applications and extensive validation. Its insights are vital for researchers, engineers, policymakers, and industry professionals, reflecting a commitment to fortifying aviation safety and propelling technological advancements.


This work exemplify how scientific innovation continues to mold our world. It illustrates the synergy between theory, practice, and the pursuit of knowledge of ATS, as the page “Ice Protection and Accretion Engineering and Simulation” shows in more details, and our esteemed collaborators. It stands as a beacon for further research, illuminating the path for technological progress in the realms of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and phase change relating to aviation safety.


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