Engineers Study Icing/De-Icing of Wind Turbine Blades to Improve Winter Power Production

In Hui Hu’s Iowa State University office, you can feel exactly what ice does to an airfoil.

As he recently rolled through the slides describing his research using Iowa State University’s icing wind tunnel, Hu picked up 3D printouts of icy airplane wings, wind turbine blades and power cables. Where there were supposed to be smooth leading edges and curved and cambered surfaces engineered to create lift or spin with the wind, there were warts of bumpy and coarse ice building up just off the leading edges and trailing over the tops and bottoms of the airfoils.

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