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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Development of X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) Imaging Method for the Measurement of Complex 3D Ice Shapes

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Development of X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) Imaging Method for the Measurement of Complex 3D Ice Shapes Project Image
When ice accretes on a wing or other aerodynamic surface, it can produce extremely complex shapes. These are comprised of well-known shapes such as horns and feathers but also include other shapes such as the scallops that are associated with swept wing icing. The development of the larger ice shapes is generally believed to be influenced or built up from smaller scale surface structures such as roughness elements which can grow into the precursors of feathers or scallops seen on larger swept wing ice accretions. Feathers and scallops are often comprised of complex interlocking geometries that can contain a large number of voids. Hence it is important to characterize the geometries of these ice shapes, not only to ensure an adequate representation of the geometry for subsequent aerodynamic effects studies but also to provide data to validate icing codes, understand the basic physics involved with the ice accretion, and provide a basis for modeling the ice accretion. To address the above issue, we propose to use an X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging method to demonstrate that X-ray CT scanning can be used to measure 3D ice features of the form seen in aircraft ice accretions. We also propose to conduct a preliminary trade/design analysis to establish directions for a more detailed Phase II study that would address specific recommendations to integrate X-ray CT imaging with icing wind tunnels which can be used at NASA Glenn and commercial aerospace companies. It is anticipated that the proposed imaging method could provide a radically new way to visualize and characterize extremely complex 3D ice shapes. More »

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