Icing research wind tunnel opened

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "Icing research wind tunnel opened", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 72 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/aeat.2000.12772baf.010



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Icing research wind tunnel opened

Icing research wind tunnel opened

Keywords: GKN Westland, Ice build-up, Wind tunnels

A new $0.75 million icing research wind tunnel (IRWT) designed to simulate the effects of flight icing conditions on aircraft structures and systems has been opened at Luton Airport, UK, by icing protection and transparencies specialist, Aerospace Composite Technologies (ACT), which is a GKN Westland Aerospace company.

The closed circuit IRWT has been purpose designed and built to test smaller components and structures. It is larger, faster and more flexible than the 50-year old ACT tunnel testing facility it replaces. The facility offers a cost-effective research and testing environment for components and aerodynamic structures, which are subject to in-flight ice accretion.

ACT uses the IRWT to develop and test its own electrothermal ice protection systems, which are fitted to external structures of fixed and rotary wing aircraft. ACT also offers the IRWT for hire to test other manufacturers' components and provides a complete design, development, testing and certification capability.

The new IRWT's first external customer is Sextant, a frequent user of the old facility. Other ACT customers have included Saab, Rolls-Royce, Bell/Boeing V22 Tiltrotor Team, BAE Systems, BF Goodrich, GKN Westland Helicopters, GKN Westland Aerospace and CASA. Non-aircraft structures, such as shipborne or rescue and safety components, can also be tested. Phil’Harris, General Manager, ACT, commented:

The investment in this facility underlines ACT's commitment to maintaining its leadership in ice protection systems and its associated testing services to the aerospace industry.

The IRWT is one of the few icing wind tunnels in the world, which can produce ice crystals as well as super cooled liquid water droplets to simulate a wide spectrum of icing conditions in static air temperatures down to below -30°C. Simulated snow and rain conditions will be also available.

The tunnel is equipped with the latest test and measuring systems including a new particle sizing system, which allows rapid and accurate determination of droplet size, which speeds up the work rate of the tunnel. The tunnel also has comprehensive data recording and control systems and visual recording facilities.

The working sections of the tunnel are at present 508 x 762 x 1,670mm long at Mach 0.32 and 178 x 305 x 1,000mm long at Mach 0.62.

Details available from Aerospace Composites Technology. Tel: +44 (0) 1582 731441; E-mail: ihubbard@gknact.co.uk

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