Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1930
2019-06-10

Microwave Technique for Liquid Water Detection in Icing Applications 2019-01-1930

The partial melting of ingested ice crystals can lead to ice accretion in aircraft compressors, but accurately measuring the relatively small fraction of liquid water content in such flows is challenging. Probe-based methods for detecting liquid water content are not suitable for deployment within turbofan engines, and thus alternatives are sought. Recent research has described approaches based on passive microwave sensing. We present here an approach based on active microwave transmission and reflection, employing a vector network analyzer. Utilization of both transmission and reflection provides additional data over and above emission or transmission only, and permits a more controllable environment than passive sensing approaches. The paper specifically addresses the question of whether such an approach is viable within the context of representative icing wind tunnel and engine flow conditions. A quasi-thermal equilibrium approach is presented herein to estimate the melting ratio during microwave analysis of samples at 0 °C. Experimental results using microwaves in the 2.45GHz region are presented, and post-processing methods investigated. This is followed by an investigation of detection limits for ice accretion in the sub-gram range. The results indicate the potential of the technique, with a number of avenues evident for further research.

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