Science Café Cleveland presents
"Ice Crystal Icing in Turbofan Engines May Explain Loss of Power Events"
NOVEMBER 11, 2013
Turbofan engines powering commercial aircraft have been found to sometimes experience temporary loss of power. While this phenomenon is still not fully understood, one important clue is that these events seem to occur while operating at high altitudes in the vicinity of convective storms, and this suggests that icing may be a factor.
It is suspected that the aircraft are flying through nearly invisible clouds of ice crystals outpouring from the convective storm cells. The theory is that ice crystals are ingested by the engines which causes ice to build up on hardware that is normally significantly warmer than freezing temperature. The ice buildup leads to an inflight, uncommanded loss of power event. This phenomenon is termed ‘ice crystal icing' and is suspected as the cause of over 250 loss of power revenue service events worldwide.
NASA Glenn is the only facility in the world to have successfully tested a full scale engine at simulated high altitude ice crystal icing conditions and in this talk I will discuss how we are doing this and what we have learned so far.
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