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Proceedings of the 13th Asian Congress of Fluid Mechanics

17-21 December 2010, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Observation of Ice Accretion Phenomena to Axial Fan

Takakazu Minoya1*, Riho Hiramoto1, Hiroshi Otsuka2, Kazuhiko Hosokawa3
Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Hokkaido Institute of Technology, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.
Aero-Engine & Space Operations, IHI Co.,Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hokkaido Institute of Technology, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.

*E-mail of presenting author:

Abstract It is very important to study phenomena of ice motion object [4-6]. Therefore, it is necessary to study on
accretion to fan blades turning around for development of small ice accretion to a rotating fan blade so as to obtain more
aircrafts jet engine. In the present study, in order to understand details especially by experiments and establish a numerical
fundamental phenomena of ice accretion to rotating fan blades, simulation method for ice accretion, which would be a
observations of ice accretion to fan blades that was caused by powerful tool for developing small engines.
water droplets from a spray nozzle were carried out In the present study, as an earlier stage of experimental
experimentally with a commercially available axial fan. It was study with actual fan blades of a small jet engine, ice
revealed that locations of ice accretion were in the vicinity of the
leading edge on a suction side of the fan blade, and on the entire
accretion phenomena to rotating fan blades were observed
surface of pressure side of the fan blade. Focusing on LWC (i.e., experimentally with a commercially available axial fan.
liquid water content) and temperature, the presence of ice The authors particularly focused on location, shape and
accretion was observed to contribute to developments of small jet growth of ice accretion, which would hopefully be useful
engine and numerical simulation technique. Dropout of ice information for development of small size jet engines.
accretion was temperature-independent in the examined range
and seemed to occur due to centrifugal force. When temperature 2. Experimental Apparatus and Methods
was low, ice accretion began early and growth rate of ice
accretion was fast. These results revealed fundamental features
of ice accretion to rotating fan blades, which is useful for Experimental apparatus overview is shown in Fig. 1.
developing small size jet engines. Experiments were conducted outdoors and also in a
temperature-controlled room at ambient temperatures
ranging from -11C to -1C to simulate atmospheric
Keywords Ice Accretion, Jet Engine, Fan Blade, Water
Droplet, Liquid Water Content (LWC), Glaze Ice
conditions of glaze ice formations. The water droplets
were generated by a spray nozzle in which water from a
pressure tank and air from a compressor are mixed.
1. Introduction Pressures of water and air were regulated by valves to
produce desired water droplets with reference to flow
Occurrence of ice accretion in a jet engine causes
volume diagram of the spray nozzle shown in Fig. 2. In
aerodynamic performance degradation, and may lead to
Fig. 2, water droplet diameters (m) are expressed in
serious damage to stator vanes and compressors when ice
squares, and water pressures (MPa) are expressed at the
comes off and penetrates inside the jet engine. Therefore,
ends of curves. Within ability of the air compressor and
ice accretion phenomena and anti-icing technologies have
the pressure regulator used in the experiments, the spray
been studied in aviation and snow ice research fields.
nozzle is able to produce water droplets from 10 to 70m
Small sized aircraft with jet engines is being developed
in diameter and from 0.2 to 1.2/min in spray volume.
actively. It is expected that ice accretion to a small jet
engine is more serious than that to a large jet engine. The water droplets were cooled down in ambient air and
Since detachment of ice with small fan may be delayed by collided with fan blades of the axial fan. The axial fan has
small centrifugal force associated with the fan diameter an output of 11kW, a maximum blast volume of
and ice on blades becomes large eventually. Therefore, 457m3/min, 12 fan blades in total and blade outer diameter
influence of ice accretion to small clearances of a blades of 624mm.
cascade becomes relatively large, and detachment of the
accumulated ice may lead to significant damage to 3. Results and Discussions
structures of the jet engine. Hence, ice accretion to fan
blades of the small aircrafts jet engine is very important 3.1. Ice accretion on fan blades
Ice accretion on fan blades, which was observed under the
Many studies on ice accretion to a translational motion
conditions that ambient temperature was -8 C, water
object [1-3] have been reported. However, there have been
small numbers of studies on ice accretion to a rotational

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droplet diameter was 30m, rotational speed was fan Figure 4 shows observation results for presence of ice
5 0 H z , Rotational


Fig. 1: Experimental apparatus overview

(a) On suction side (b) On pressure side

Fig. 3: Iced geometries on fan blades

Ice accretion N o ice accretion D ifficult judgem ent



Liquid w ater content (g/m 3)

4.0 Small n0



Fig. 2: Flow volume diagram of spray nozzle 1.5

spray volume was 1/min and spray time was 2 minutes, is Large n0
shown in Fig. 3. The blades span length is 160mm and
chord length is 73mm. It is understood from Fig. 3 that a 0.0
-12 -11 -10 -9 -8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0
surface of ice accretion on the blades mostly becomes
Tem perature ()
uneven due to frozen streaks of runback water, which is a
feature of glaze ice and seems to be strongly affected by Fig. 4: Ice accretion occurrence
centrifugal force. On the suction side of the fan blade, ice
accretion occurs only near a leading edge. On the other accretion. LWC (g/m3) was estimated from volume from a
hand, ice accretion was observed on an entire surface of spray nozzle and inhalation air volume to axial fan. In Fig.
the pressure side and increased toward a trailing edge. Ice 4, shows occurrence of ice accretion, and shows no
accretion on the leading edge was largest near the root of ice accretion and shows that it was difficult to judge
the blade, and decreased gradually toward the blade tip. presence of ice accretion from an observation result.
These observation results are useful for anti-icing coating, Distribution of the parameter n0 shows trends that n0
which should be performed in confined area. becomes large toward left lower and small toward upper
right. From the results, at -1C, ice accretion was confirmed
3.2. Occurrence of ice accretion with LWC 1.8g/m3 but not confirmed with LWC 2.7,
3.5g/m3. In other words, small LWC leads to ice accretion
Experimental results about occurrence of ice accretion are and large LWC hardly leads to ice accretion. These kinds of
useful for designing small jet engine and for establishing result will be useful for development and evaluation of
numerical simulation technique. The authors focused on numerical simulations.
occurrence of ice accretion influenced by liquid water
content (i.e., LWC) and temperature because these are
important factors to n0, freezing fraction [7][8], which is 3.3. Relationship between icing speed and
defined as the ratio of the mass of water that freezes at a LWC
stagnation point on the surface to the total mass of water
Icing speed (i.e., growth rate of ice, g/min) was
that impinges on that location. The occurrence of ice
investigated with a focus on LWC-dependence properties.
accretion phenomena was examined in a temperature
In the experiments, LWC was changed from 2.2 to 4.0g/m3,
controlled room.
and ambient air temperature -6C, water droplet diameter
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30m and rotational speed 50Hz were kept fixed. occurred relatively immediately after the beginning of
Furthermore, mass of adherent ice on all of the 12 fan spraying water droplets, and grew linearly until dropout of
blades was measured after 3 minutes of sprayed time. The ice occurred. Dropout of the ice occurred with a part of ice
result demonstrates an upward trend with increasing LWC at first as shown in Fig. 8, and remainder of ice also
as shown in Fig.5. This result seems to be natural. On the dropped out soon. The experiments were conducted at
other hand, the parameter n0 (i.e., the freezing fraction) temperatures -4 C and -10C with fixed conditions of
decreases with increasing LWC at a constant temperature spray volume 0.8/min and rotational speed 30Hz, and
as shown in Fig.4, which implies that large LWC makes it
hard to cause ice accretion. That is to say, large LWC
makes it hard to cause ice accretion. However, once ice 60

Icing speed (g/m in)

accretion occurs, icing speed becomes high. 50
3.4. Maximum mass of ice accretion
Ice accretion phenomena on rotating fan blades repeat a
cycle that consists of three events. Firstly, ice accretion
occurs on blades. Secondly, the ice grows up, in other 0
words, ice increases its volume and mass. Finally, the ice 2.2 3.1 4.0
breaks away from the blades. In this section, the Liquid W ater C ontent (g/m )
maximum mass of ice accretion, which is the mass of ice
right at the final event (i.e., dropout of the ice), was Fig. 5: LWC-dependence property of icing speed
The experiments on temperature-dependence properties of 14
M axim um m ass of ice
the maximum mass of ice accretion were conducted as
follows. The droplets were sprayed to rotating fan blades
and axial fan was stopped when the first dropout of the ice accretion (g) 10
occurs, which is recognized by sound of ice collision to
inside the wall of the axial fan. Moreover, mass of the ice 6
that adhered to a piece of other blades different from the 4
blade where dropout of ice occurred was measured as 2
maximum mass of ice accretion. Spray volume and 0
rotational speed of the axial fan were maintained at -10 -7 -4 -3
0.5/min and 50Hz, respectively. From the result shown in Tem perature ()
Fig. 6, the maximum mass of ice accretion on a blade is
about 12g and seems to be temperature-independent in this Fig. 6: Temperature-dependence property of maximum ice
examined range. These results suggest that the same accretion mass
mechanism works for ice adhesion on a fan blade in the
temperature range of the experiments.
In addition, influence of rotational speed of the fan on 60
M axim um m ass of ice

maximum mass of ice accretion was also examined as 50

accretion (g)

shown in Fig. 7. In this experiment, spray volume and 40

temperature were maintained at 0.4/min and -10C,
respectively. Figure 7 shows that the maximum mass of
the ice accretion decreases with increasing the rotational 20
speed of the fan with a concave curve. Figure 8 shows a 10
typical state of ice when the ice broke away, and dropout
of ice seems to occur due to centrifugal force that
20 30 40 50
corresponds reasonably with the results shown in Fig. 7
that the maximum mass of ice varies in inverse proportion R otationalspeed (H z)
to square of rotational speed of the fan.
Fig. 7: Rotational speed-dependence property of maximum
ice accretion mass
3.5. Growth speed of ice accretion
Growing states of ice accretion on the fan blade were
observed to discuss growth speed of ice accretion at
different temperatures. Figure 9 shows characteristic
states of ice in an ice accretion cycle. Ice accretion

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Fig. 8: Characteristic dropout of ice (a) 1 minute (b) 4 minutes

time was recorded at the beginning of ice accretion and at

the instant of dropout of ice. The results showed that ice
accretion occurred in 20s after spraying water droplets and
dropout of ice occurred in 260s after ice accretion for the
case of -4 C, and for the case of -10C, the corresponding
time was 10s and 160s respectively. Therefore, ice accretion
started earlier at a lower temperature. Furthermore, (c) 5 minutes
concerning the results shown in Fig. 6, in other words, the
maximum mass of ice accretion is constant in the Fig. 9: States of ice
temperature range of our experiments, ice accretion grew
faster at a lower temperature. It seems natural with taking
account of heat transfer.
[3] Lee, S. and Loth, E., "Simulation of icing on a cascade
4. Conclusions of stator blades", Journal of Propulsion and Power,
Observation of ice accretion to fan blades of an axial fan Vol. 24, Number 6, pp. 1309-1316, November-
was conducted experimentally, and fundamental features of December 2008.
the ice accretion, which are useful for development of a [4] Makkonen, L., Laakso, T., Marjaniemi, M. and
small size jet engine, are obtained as follows: Finstad, K.J., "Modelling and prevention of ice
accretion on wind turbines", Wind Engneering, Vol.
a) Ice accretion occurred mainly in the vicinity of the 25, Number 1, pp. 3-21, November, 2001.
leading edge on a suction side of the fan blade, and [5] Das, K., Hamed, A. and Basu, D., "Icing analysis of
on the entire surface of pressure side of the fan blade. fan rotor at part load conditions", Proc. of FEDSM
These observation results are useful when anti-icing 2006, FEDSM-2006-98421, July 2006.
coating will be performed on the region where ice [6] Das, K., Hamed, A. and Basu, D., "Ice shape prediction
accretion occurs. for turbofan rotating blades", 44th AIAA Aerospace
Sciences Meeting & Exhibit, AIAA-2006-0209, pp. 1-
b) Large LWC (i.e., liquid water content) around an ice
12, January, 2006.
point hardly leads to ice accretion.
[7] Tsao, J.C. and Anderson, D.N., "Latest developments
c) Icing speed increased linearly with increasing LWC, in SLD scaling", NASA/CR-2006-214127, pp. 1-15,
and the maximum mass of ice accretion was constant February, 2006.
in the temperature range of the experiments, and [8] Anderson, D.N., "Manual of scaling methods",
dropout of ice seems to be determined by centrifugal NASA/CR-2004-212875, pp. 1-74, March 2004.
The study described in this report was funded by a grant
from The Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies.
[1] Broeren, A.P., Addy, H.E., Jr. and Bragg, M.B.,
"Effect of intercycle ice accretions on airfoil
performance", AIAA-2002-0240, pp. 1-22, January,
[2] Saeed, F., Gouttebroze, S. and Paraschivoiu, I.,
"Modified CANICE for improved prediction of airfoil
ice accretion", Proc. of 8th Aerodynamic Symposium
of the 48th Annual. Conference of CASI, pp. 283-289,
May 2001.
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