Application of Shape Memory Alloys for Leading Edge Deicing 1999-01-1585
Ice accumulation on aircraft wings during flight is a dangerous situation. To deal with this problem, current deicing systems either prevent ice accumulation by heating or break the ice layer once it is formed by dynamic motion of a leading edge device such as a boot. These systems may be deficient due to excessive energy requirements or ineffectiveness. In this project, the feasibility of using shape memory alloy (SMA) composite material for deicing purposes is investigated. SMA such as Nitinol wire has an unusual characteristic where it can be trained to generate a compressive strain upon application of an electric current through the wire. Several different versions of two inch radius semi-circular SMA composite specimen were manufactured and tested at Wichita State University. Ice was successfully shed in static icing tests while each of the subsequent versions reduced the power input requirement. Based on laboratory tests, the application of SMA for leading edge deicing is a promising technology which merits further investigation and development.