Ice Detection Film

The formation of ice on aircraft is a major hazard to aviation. Even the most modern and advanced jetliners can succumb to the effects of ice on the aircraft's flying qualities. Accidents still happen in which aircraft crash due to unnoticed ice accumulation. Vigilance by the crew is still the best defence against ice.

To this end, recent research has focused on a way to alert the crew when ice forms on the flying surfaces of the aircraft. A simple temperature sensor is insufficient. What is required is a sensor that will alert the crew to the actual presence of ice itself - not sub-zero temperatures or liquid water.

If a strip of film which changes colour or other optical properties in the presence of ice could be fixed to the upper wing and other flying surfaces of an aircraft where it is clearly visible to the pilot, a visual check could ascertain if it was safe to take off or whether de-icing was required. It would also alert pilots to the accretion of ice during flight.

A passive device has the advantage of not requiring a separate power supply. Aircraft are already festooned with sensors so a passive device would reduce complexity, simplify installation and lower maintenance costs.

Meridian has designed an electret polymer film incorporating an electroactive chromophore, which will act autonomously without external power to indicate the formation of ice by reversibly changing both its colour and the polarisation of incident light.

If you are interested in collaborative development with a view to potential licensing, entering a test and development agreement or acquiring an intellectual property position, please contact Meridian International Research.


Copyright 2005 Meridian International Research
Last updated 21/03/06