Objective of the project
The accretion of ice represents a severe problem for aircraft, as the presence of even a scarcely visible layer can severely limit the function of wings, propellers, windshields, antennas, vents, intakes and cowlings. The PHOBIC2ICE Project aims at developing technologies and predictive simulation tools for avoiding or mitigating this phenomenon.
The PHOBIC2ICE project, by applying an innovative approach to simulation and modelling, will enable the design and fabrication of icephobic surfaces with improved functionalities. Several types of polymeric, metallic and hybrid coatings using different deposition methods will be developed. Laser treated and anodized surfaces will be prepared. Consequently, the Project focuses on collecting fundamental knowledge of phenomena associated with icephobicity issues. This knowledge will give a better understanding of the ice accretion process on different coatings and modified surfaces. Certified research infrastructure located in Canada (ice wind tunnel) and flight tests planned in Spain will aid in developing comprehensive solutions to address ice formation issues and will raise the Project’s innovation level.
The proposed solution will be environmentally friendly, will reduce energy consumption, and will eliminate the need for frequent on-ground de-icing procedures. This in turn will reduce pollution, cost, and flight delays.
Accretion of ice on aerostructures affects airplanes as well as rotorcraft mainly at two levels: (i) icing constitutes a severe security issue in that flying is allowed only in certain atmospheric conditions or only if the aircraft is equipped with certified anti-icing technologies; (ii) icing constitutes a sustainability issue in that ice accretions increase the aerodynamic drag on an aircraft and thus increase the fuel burn. Several ice protection technologies are presently in use, but most of them have inherent negative effects such as high energy consumption, increased weight, a negative environmental impact, and the need for frequent reapplication among others. Surface engineering can provide a better alternative by reducing or eliminating ice accumulation. An attractive approach to this issue is the development of icephobic coatings and/or treated surfaces that can sufficiently reduce water adhesion and slow down ice nucleation, so that supercooled water droplets landing on the aircraft surface can be removed by the shear force of the airstream before freezing. The project approach is focused on designing materials and tailoring by modeling and simulations of inherent material properties for the development of a more sustainable and energy-efficient anti-icing coating system for aircraft.
The Intercontinental Research Consortium consists of 5 Canadian and 4 European Partners from Germany, Poland and Spain. Two large industrial Partners are involved, Airbus Germany and Pratt & Whitney Canada, as well as two SMEs – Plasmionique and Dema Aeronautics – both from Canada.
This project aims at developing
- Surface treatments and/or coatings with icephobic and superhydrophobic properties to avoid ice accretion on a number of specific aircraft components. The technical approach will be based on fabrication different types of coatings and/or laser treated and anodized surfaces.
- Tools to simulate ice accretion on different types of surfaces with and without surface treatments and/or coatings. Simulations and modeling will deal with the scale ranging from the nano-scale to the macro-scale.
A testing protocol capable of assessing the performance of the treated and/or coated components under real operating conditions. Implementation of the working sensors system in new wind tunnel geometries and adapting it to new scaled wing profiles.
- Testing of representative prototypes for proof-of-concept of the materials developed. Taking advantage of the wind tunnel and flight tests, performance of the selected coatings/treated surfaces will be investigated.
- Green, efficient manufacturing processes for said surface treatments and/or coatings specifically taking into consideration regulations concerned to content of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
- Improvement of the durability of fabricated coatings/ treated surfaces in order to avoid re- process, which in turn reduces maintenance time and related costs. Coatings/surfaces with low surface energy and high erosion and corrosion resistance.