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The Performance of an Iced Aircraft Wing (Mechanical/Electronics Project)

The goal of this study work has been to develop and manufacture an ice layer which was to be mounted on the tip of a scaled down wing model. The iced wing should be tested in a wind tunnel and aerodynamic comparisons should be made to the same wing without ice.The development of the ice was carried out as a modified product development process.

The main differences are that there is no costumer and that the actual shape and functions of the product are more or less predetermined. The challenge was to find the best way to create the ice layer and how to mount it to the wing without damaging it or covering any pressure sensors. Product development methods such as pros and cons lists and prototypes were used to solve problems before printing the plastic ice layer in a rapid prototyping machine.

Wind tunnel experiments were then conducted on the wing with and without the manufactured ice. Raw data from the wind tunnel were processed and lift and drag coefficients were calculated using mathematical equations. Finally, conclusions were drawn by comparing the results from the wind tunnel tests with theory, other works as well as CFD simulations.The ice layer was successfully manufactured and it met the target specifications. The aerodynamic performance of an iced aircraft wing proved to be considerably worse compared to a blank wing. The maximum achievable lift force decreased by 22% and an increased drag force will require more thrust from the airplane.
Source: University West
Author: Andersson, Daniel

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