Browse Complete List of Aircraft Deicing Equipment

Deicing systems play an indispensable role in aviation and aeronautics. When a plane is in flight, temperatures plummet as the aircraft ascends to cruising altitude. Depending on weather conditions, ice can accumulate on the wings, within the engine, or around the windshield of the plane. To prevent this issue, several deicing systems are installed on the aircraft including deicing boots, weeping wings, bleed air heated surfaces, electrically heated surfaces, and electro-mechanical heating. 

Deicing boots are typically installed on the leading edge of a wing, where ice is likely to form, and where the airfoil will be most affected. Its design consists of a thick rubber surface that is then installed over a specific area of the wing, similar to a rubber membrane. As ice accrues, compressed air fills the boot, dislodging ice that has accumulated. From there, the air travels through a pressure regulator followed by a flow control valve. Deicing boots are operated manually or by a timer that is controlled by the pilot of the aircraft.

Weeping wings use tecalemit-kilfrost-sheepbridge stokes (TKS) fluid, or ethylene glycol-based fluid, to prevent an accruement of ice on the wings. The fluid is pumped from integrated fluid reservoirs and directed through ducts to the leading edge of the aircraft. The edges have thousands of tiny holes drilled in them which let the fluid drip out at a controlled rate. Air flowing around the aircraft disperses the fluid across the leading edges, and rolls it back across the aircraft's surfaces, coating the plane in a protective film that prevents ice formation.

Bleed air heated technology involves redirecting some of the airflow from the engine to high-risk areas of the plane. Engine air is very hot, between 200 to 250 degrees Celsius, and very high in pressure—around 40 psi. Using bleed air to heat the leading-edge surfaces can be very efficient. As long as your engine is running, bleed air from the powerplant will be hot enough to prevent ice from forming.

Electrically heated surfaces are also common in aviation. Surfaces like windshields and airframe paneling are provided with de-ice and anti-ice protection regardless of engine operation. Since they are electric, unless you have an electrical failure, you will always have anti-ice and de-ice protection on the surfaces. There are backup power systems installed on aircraft to prevent total electrical failure.

Electro-Mechanical Expulsion Deicing, or EMEDS, detects ice via a sensor. When ice starts to accumulate, coils behind the leading-edge skin start to vibrate, causing ice to break off. Because it doesn't modify the airfoil surface, the system doesn't increase stall speed. Another advantage is its relatively low power requirement for operation.

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