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Simulation of icing, a matter of danger for aircrafts

Flight in icing conditions brings two risks which are independent of each other: on one hand the possibility of ice accreting on the airframe, increasing drag while decreasing the ability of the airfoil to create lift, and on the other hand the possibility of ice affecting the normal operation of the powerplants fitted to the airframe.

Icing is generally caused by the freezing of supercooled water droplets upon impact onto solid surfaces. However, an additional risk has been identified over the last decades when flying in clouds with high ice-crystal concentrations (ranging in size from 50 μm to 1 mm) or with mixed phase conditions, i.e. ice crystals combined with supercooled water droplets. Under such conditions, ice accretion may occur on warm parts of the engine compressor, resulting in sudden loss of engine thrust, engine flame-out, and even irreversible damage with permanent power loss. A NASA study published in 2009 identified 140 engine power loss events due to engine core icing since the early 1980’s. Newer aircrafts are also affected, as the warnings issued by Boeing in November 2013 regarding their 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner aircrafts, after six incidents in the previous six months, illustrate.

For this reason, efforts to improve the predictive capabilities of numerical ICI tools must be pursued to assist in the design of next generation engines and aircrafts. The MUSIC-haic project is a research and innovation action funded by the EU through the H2020 programme which aims to build on past research projects and existing multi-disciplinary tools to provide the aeronautic industry with an Ice Crystal Icing (ICI) numerical capability usable for both design and certification purposes.

MUSIC-haic has a total budget of 5.1 million euros of which 4.8 million will be financed by the EU. It started in 2018 to finish in February 2023. It is carried out by a consortium made up of 14 partners from 4 different EU member states and led by ONERA, The French Aerospace Lab.

Having started in 2014 to provide industrials with simulation of particles (sand, water dropplets, hail) trajectories within aircraft engines, Andheo is one of the industrial partner next to Safran Aircraft Engines, Airbus, Dassault Aviation, GE, Rolls-Royce. We are involved in the preliminary and final capability assessment of 3D simulation tools developed and implemented in ONERA’s multisolver CEDRE platform.

Visit MUSIC-haic project website to be informed of the project results and associated publication and communication.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under agreement No 767560.

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