Boeing’s 3D-printed fake ice for testing

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Boeing has filed a patent application for the 3D printing of plastic fake ice.

Formation of ice on an aircraft’s fuselage and control surfaces is inevitable in certain flying conditions. So to help ensure aircraft can survive freezing/icing temperatures, Boeing developed a concept to make it easier to test aircraft without flying them to places where climatic conditions are ripe for icing to occur.

The artificial plastic ice can be attached to the aircraft to accurately simulate how real ice builds up and changes the flight characteristics of wings, flaps and parts of a turbine engine.

The 3D prints could be attached in specific and controlled amounts to assess how the changes in airflow could affect an aircraft’s performance. The plastic ‘ice’ enables testing to be conducted almost anywhere.

April 29, 2016

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