Boeing files patent for artificial 3D printed ice blocks used for next-gen flight testing

martes, 19 de abril de 2016

If you’ve ever been out for a walk on a winter morning, you’ll have seen the grass covered by gorgeous ice crystals. These are formed when supercooled water droplets touch a solid surface. A delight to see when you have both feet on the ground, but a real hazard for airplanes everywhere. As a plane’s aerodynamic shape is crucial for a safe flight, a significant build-up of these ice crystals on the wings or the tail of a plane can seriously increase the chance of a disastrous crash.

That’s why the international authorities that provide aircraft certification stipulate that all new aircraft designs need to be tested in ‘known icing conditions’, through a ‘Flight Into Known Icing’ or FIKI. “Such certification test flights may require that the aircraft be flown with artificial ice shapes attached to wing and/or tail leading edges,” Boeing writes in its latest patent application. “Dry air flight tests with artificial ice shapes installed allows airplane performance and handling characteristics to be evaluated in stable dry air conditions and with the critical ice shape remaining constant.” read full story:

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