NetComposites
Advanced Engineering 2018

Electro-Thermal Ice Protection System Completes Icing Tunnel Tests

19 June 2007

The GKN/Ultra electro-thermal Wing Ice Protection System (WIPS) for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will be the first all electro-thermal anti-ice / de-ice system to be qualified for use on a civil airliner, has successfully completed a 30 month program of icing tunnel tests in the Boeing Research Aircraft Icing Tunnel (BRAIT).

In itself, this program of ground-based, simulated tests represents a major development in FAA certification procedure. Devised by Boeing, GKN Aerospace and Ultra, and for the first time, approved by the FAA, the emphasis has been to thoroughly and comprehensively test the WIPS system in simulated circumstances, pre-flight trails. This has reduced the need for expensive and extremely time consuming flight trials, and has provided a more extensive and thoroughly monitored test activity than is possible in the air. The BRIAT program is a recognised part of the process of certifying the WIPS to FAA Part 25 Appendix C.

With BRIAT trials now complete, the WIPS enters a rigorous but reduced flight trial program to prove performance in the air and is expected to gain certification in Qtr2 2008. Overall, the Boeing 787 WIPS is scheduled to be designed, tested and qualified by the Boeing /GKN and Ultra WIPS team in 40 months from contract award in December 2004.

Electro-thermal ice protection systems remove the need to bleed hot air from the engine, which is the traditional approach to protect against in-flight icing. The system works by embedding electro-thermal heater mats into the surface to be protected. These mats comprise an advanced composite material pad which contains a heater element. An electronic controller (developed by Ultra Electronics) monitors the condition of each surface individually. Compared to traditional hot gas systems, heat can be locally targeted and finely controlled to avoid icing in very specific areas making electro-thermal systems compatible with today's advanced high performance critical wing designs. This increases the performance and endurance of the airframe and reduces fuel consumption significantly. The simplicity of the system also reduces maintenance tasks, helping to limit aircraft downtimes. The image shows surface preparation prior to application of Electro-Thermal Heating Element, taking place at the GKN Aerospace facility in Luton, England






Related / You might like...

Alvant Supports £28m Safran-Led Aircraft Landing Gear Project

Alvant has been appointed to work on a two-year, £28 million project titled Large Landing Gear of the Future, which aims to deliver a 30% weight reduction and assist the aerospace industry’s drive to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

3D Printed Drone Prototype Wins Red Dot 2018 Design Award

Hexadrone’s 3D printed Tundra prototype, manufactured by CRP Technology via laser sintering (LS) technology using Windform SP and Windform XT 2.0 carbon composite materials, has won the Red Dot Award 2018 in the drone category.

Norco Composites Invests in New Equipment

UK company Norco Composites has invested in a larger spray booth and a new cutting and kitting machine to enable the company to increase productivity in line with growing demand from its marine customers.