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45th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit 8 - 11 January 2007, Reno, Nevada

AIAA 2007-504

Simulations of Finite Wings with 2-D and 3-D Ice Shapes:

Modern Lifting-Line Theory versus 3-D CFD

X. Chi 1 , B. Williams 2 , R.E. Kreeger 3 , R.G. Hindman 4 , and T.I-P. Shih 5

1,2,4,5 Department of Aerospace Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011 3 Icing Branch, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44135

Computations were performed to examine the usefulness of Q3D-Wing – a method based on lifting-line theory and a database on the aerodynamics of 2-D airfoil sections with and without ice – to predict the 3-D aerodynamics of clean and iced wings. This was accomplished by comparing results generated by using Q3D-Wing with those generated by using 3-D CFD for the following configurations: rectangular and swept wings with 2-D 212 rime ice, 2-D 944 glaze ice, and an “artificial” 3-D glaze ice. For the clean and the iced wing configurations studied, the lift and drag predicted by Q3D-Wing matched 3-D CFD results remarkably well – within 2 to 5% - except near stall.








C p




Re c





angle of attack


wing sweep angle


chord length


wing span


aspect ratio of a wing


lift coefficient


drag coefficient


pressure coefficient


Mach number


freestream temperature


freestream pressure


Reynold number based on freestream conditions and the chord length



F ORMATION of ice on aircraft wings is a serious safety concern because ice reduces lift and causes stall to occur at much lower angles of attack. 1 Also, even if the lift is still sufficiently large to sustain flight, the uneven

buildup of ice on the wings can produce flight control problems. Thus, it is important to understand the different ice shapes that can form and how they affect aerodynamics. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a promising approach for predicting the aerodynamic performance of airfoils and wings with accrued ice. 2 However, for iced wings, the computational cost can be extremely high. This is because the three-dimensional (3-D) ice surface geometry has multiple length scales from as large as the dimensions of the airfoil’s leading edge to as small as some of the smaller length scales of the turbulent flow. Thus, a very large number of grid points or cells are needed to resolve the ice geometry and the flow that it induces. For a clean wing (i.e., wing without ice), the grid only needs to be fine in the direction normal to the surface to resolve the boundary-layer flow. But, when there is ice, the grid must be fine in all three directions to resolve the flow induced by the ice.

1 Research Associate. Member AIAA.

2 Graduate Student. Member AIAA.

3 Aerospace Engineer. Member AIAA.

4 Associate Professor. Member AIAA.

5 Professor and Chair. Associate Fellow AIAA.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

This material is declared a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States.