Aircraft icing has been recognized as the most significant weather hazard that impacts aviation safety. A thin sheet of ice on lifting or control surfaces of an aircraft can adversely affect its flight performance by increasing drag and decreasing lift and thrust. The uncontrolled shedding of ice built up on surfaces may severely damage critical components. The occurrence of ice accretion is also a big challenge in terms of economic impact. The presence of ice can not only cause flight delays, but also reduce flight profits by increasing fuel consumptions and additional cost for de-icing operations. A better understanding of the physical mechanisms of water movement and the ice formation process on aircraft surfaces is very important and critical in ensuring safe and efficient operation of aircraft in cold weather. Generally there are two types of ice that can be deposited during flight: glaze ice and rime ice, which occur is dependent on weather conditions. Glaze ice is formed with high liquid water content (LWC) and large droplet size at temperatures just below the freezing point, and it has a smooth, clear and dense appearance. Rime ice forms with lower LWC and smaller droplet size at temperatures around or below −12 C°. It is a mixture of tiny ice particles, containing many micro bubbles and cracks, and it has a white rough appearance. These two types of ice may have significantly different effects on flight performance. However, most of the current de-icing approaches and practices do not consider this and operators potentially perform a lot of unnecessary actions. In this study, attenuation measurement of ultrasonic waves is performed to investigate the feasibility of characterization of ice types. Analysis investigates frequency dependent attenuation properties that are potentially closely related to ice acoustic properties and hence the micro-structure.

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