An encounter with inflight icing can be deadly for any aircraft. Ice detectors, installed on many transport aircraft, provide critical icing information to the flight crew and aircraft ice protection systems.
Aerospace manufactures many of the ice detectors installed on airliners, small jets, and turboprop aircraft. The Aerospace vibrating probe ice detector consists of a housing, mounting plate, wing-shaped strut, and a small probe.
The device looks simple enough from the outside, but uses some interesting physics to do its job. The ice detector is part of an automated ice protection system.
Using signals from the ice detector, the system automatically activates aircraft ice protection systems when needed. An automatic system improves fuel efficiency and reduces wear on moving parts. Best of all, the primary automatic system reduces pilot workload.
An electric current induces the probe to resonate (vibrate) at a specific ultrasonic frequency. Ice accumulation on the probe causes the resonance frequency to decrease. Detector logic senses the change in frequency and triggers a crew advisory or, in an automatic system, signals ice protection systems to activate.
During icing conditions, the probe’s internal heater cycles on and off to clear ice accumulation. The sampling and heating cycle allows the detector to continuously sense (and in some detectors, measure) ice accumulation.
The Global Aircraft airframe icing sensor market accounted for $XX Billion in 2022 and is anticipated to reach $XX Billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of XX% from 2023 to 2030.
THEIET Ice sensors developed to detect build-up on aeroplane wings The team from UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering aimed to develop a sensor that could detect the precise moment when ice begins to form on a surface. Due to their high sensitivity, low power, ease of fabrication and planar profile, the team chose to use microwave resonators.
The sensors give a complete picture of the icing conditions on any surface, like an airplane wing. They can detect when water hits the wing, track the phase transition from water to ice and then measure the thickness of the ice as it grows, all without altering the aerodynamic profile of the wing.
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