Fundamental Ice Crystal Accretion Physics Studies 2011-38-0018
Due to numerous engine power-loss events associated with high-altitude convective weather, ice accretion within an engine due to ice-crystal ingestion is being investigated. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada are starting to examine the physical mechanisms of ice accretion on surfaces exposed to ice-crystal and mixed-phase conditions. In November 2010, two weeks of testing occurred at the NRC Research Altitude Facility utilizing a single wedge-type airfoil designed to facilitate fundamental studies while retaining critical features of a compressor stator blade or guide vane. The airfoil was placed in the NRC cascade wind tunnel for both aerodynamic and icing tests. Aerodynamic testing showed excellent agreement compared with CFD data on the icing pressure surface and allowed calculation of heat transfer coefficients at various airfoil locations. Icing tests were performed at Mach numbers of 0.2 to 0.3, total pressures from 93 to 45 kPa, and total temperatures from 5 to 15°C. Ice and liquid water contents ranged up to 20 and 3 g/m₃, respectively. The ice appeared well adhered to the surface in the lowest pressure tests (45 kPa) and, in a particular case, showed continuous leading-edge ice growth to a thickness greater than 15 millimeters in 3 minutes. Such widespread deposits were not observed in the highest pressure tests, where the accretions were limited to a small area around the leading edge. The suction surface was typically ice-free in the tests at high pressure, but not at low pressure. The icing behavior at high and low pressure appeared to be correlated with the wet-bulb temperature, which was estimated to be above 0°C in tests at 93 kPa and below 0°C in tests at lower pressure, the latter enhanced by more evaporative cooling of water. The authors believe that the large ice accretions observed in the low pressure tests would undoubtedly cause the aerodynamic performance of a compressor component such as a stator blade to degrade significantly, and could damage downstream components if shed.