Researchers, PhD Student Henna Niemelä-Anttonen and Dr. Heli Koivuluoto from Tampere University (TAU), got a great opportunity to test icephobic surfaces in Lohtaja in the training area of the Finnish Defence Forces. This test experience was done in March 2019.
Thanks to Mr. Riku Niemenmaa from The Finnish Defence Forces, TAU got this chance to investigate the outdoor behavior of our surfaces in the small plane Banshee. Different surface designs were fixed to the leading edge of the plane and their behavior during the flight was pictured with a GoPro camera.
Before tests: Surfaces fixed for the test. Researchers ready to observe testing setup in the field.
Surfaces during the flights in two-days testing. In the first day, it was snowing and temperature close to 0˚C whereas in the second day, the weather was sunny and temperature around -5˚C.
After the flights the tested surfaces were visually in a good shape, not damaged. This indicates their potential to be used in outdoor conditions. Research and development continue based on the findings and observations during this experience. Field tests are very important as the next step after laboratory testing. Application-related requirements need to be carefully considered while developing icephobic surfaces. In TAU, the icephobic surfaces are developed by using several surface engineering solutions and then evaluating the icing performance of the surfaces and materials in the Icing lab with the icing wind tunnel (IWiT), the centrifugal ice adhesion testing (CAT) and other supporting characterization techniques. During this Lohtaja trip the TAU icing research team got a lot of new knowledge for future development, by improving understanding of application-related behavior and requirements. This is encouraging for continued research and development of the best icephobic solutions.
Text by Heli Koivuluoto
Pictures by Henna Niemelä-Anttonen and Heli Koivuluoto