Improved control in new icing wind tunnel

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 June 2000




(2000), "Improved control in new icing wind tunnel", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 72 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Improved control in new icing wind tunnel

Keywords Aerospace Composite Technologies, Wind tunnels, Malvern Instruments, Particles, Sizing

A new state-of-the-art icing wind tunnel at Aerospace Composite Technologies' London Luton Airport (UK) site includes the latest in analytical and monitoring instrumentation. The company specialises in the development and provision of aircraft ice protection systems and aircraft transparencies and the tunnel is used primarily for testing the external surfaces of fixed and rotating wing aircraft.

Effective simulation of environmental conditions is essential and measurement must be made of droplet size and concentration to ensure that icing conditions conform to pre-set specifications. In a move to eliminate this as a rate limiting step, ACT has installed a Malvern Instruments Spraytec particle size analyser to replace the traditional very laborious methods (Plate 3).

Plate 3 Spraytec system operating in icing wind tunnel at Aerospace Composite Technologies Ltd, Luton, UK

Test facilities manager, Glenn Howard, confirmed that the installation of the Spraytec system has brought immediate benefits: "Because Spraytec operates as a continuous measurement system it produces a stream of data that allows us to constantly monitor tunnel conditions and to make adjustments rapidly. We now need less time to achieve controlled conditions, which means more efficient and more cost-effective use of the tunnel. Spraytec has completely replaced the oil slide method for droplet sizing and has replaced sieving for determining the size of ice particles. We have the additional benefit that Spraytec provides a permanent record of each test."

ACT'S marketing manager Ian Hubbard believes that the advances to the wind tunnel operation will ensure the growth of the company's contract research and testing services. "The tunnel is now operating to maximum efficiency. We can therefore make the facility more widely and cost-effectively available to third-party companies."

Details available from: Malvern Instruments Ltd. Tel: +44 (0) 1684 892456; Fax: +44 (0) 1684 892789; E-mail:

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