GKN Aerospace’s electro-thermal ice protection technology meets the growing demand to produce ‘all electric aircraft’.
GKN Aerospace electro-thermal heating has been selected for every major electric ice protection programme to date. This includes the ice protection system for the Joint Strike Fighter’s F135 engine, for the wings of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, for the V-22 Osprey engine inlet and for the main rotor blades of the EH101.
Frank Bamford, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, of GKN Aerospace comments:” This important technological development combines simplicity, versatility and ruggedness in an elegant solution that has endless applications across the airframe - and brings many performance benefits. Electric ice protection is the way forward and is one of GKN Aerospace’s key technologies for the future”.
An electro-thermal ice protection system removes the need to bleed hot air from the engine, which is the traditional approach to protect against in-flight icing. The system works by embedding electro-thermal heater mats into the surface to be protected. These mats comprise an advanced composite material pad which contains a heater element. An electronic controller, (developed by Ultra Electronics for the 787 and the F135 systems) monitors the condition of each surface individually. Compared to traditional hot gas systems, heat can be locally targeted and finely controlled to avoid icing in very specific areas making electro thermal systems compatible with today’s advanced high performance critical wing designs. This increases the performance and endurance of the airframe and reduces fuel consumption significantly. The simplicity of the system also reduces maintenance tasks, helping to limit aircraft downtimes.
Frank Bamford continues:” We are looking at a number of further applications for this technology including wing leading edge, engine and nacelle ice protection for a range of future commercial aircraft demanding leaner and cleaner performance.”