Evaluating approaches to detecting ice accretion in and around turbofan jet engines.


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The accumulation of ice crystals in the compressor stages of a jet engine causes power loss events during flight that could potentially become catastrophic. The electromagnetic properties of ice clouds make them nearly undetectable to radars and hence the need for a new sensing technique. A microwave radiometer and two different types of interferometer sensors are being developed to address this issue. A microwave radiometer measures power that can be expressed as brightness temperature. Due to material properties, ice emits a significantly higher amount of energy and appears “brighter” to a microwave radiometer compared to liquid water. Interferometers, on the other hand, make highly sensitive measurements by superimposing electromagnetic waves and causing an interference. Results from various experiments conducted with the radiometer validated the design approach and served as proof of concept.



Ice cloud. Ice accretion. Turbofan jet engine. Radiometry. Interferometry.