Undergraduate YPEC 2022

UG04 – Development of a Hybrid De-Icing System using Aerogels for Aircraft Applications

The formation of ice on aircraft surfaces is a severe concern in aviation safety and meteorology, as this phenomenon could result in issues such as excess weight, increased drag, early boundary layer separation, and reduced stall angle. At present, commercial solutions are being employed regularly which incorporate a de-icing process using hot bleed air from the aircraft engines. However, this approach is not environmentally friendly, as utilizing bleed air leads to heavier reliance on aircraft fuel combustion. In order to remove ice with less time and energy, the team proposes to develop a multifunctional aircraft composite, consisting of carbon-based aerogel and carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites as the structural component of the aircraft with an additional de-icing function. The presence of highly porous aerogel on the top layer of CFRP composite supports absorbing sunlight during daytime flight. Through photothermal conversion, the sunlight will be converted into heat and raise the surface temperature of aircraft to deter ice formation. Carbon-based aerogels are also known for their high electrical conductivity, and hence, during night-time flights, Joule heating, which is a heat generation process by applying a voltage to an electrically conductive material, can be adopted to remove the ice.