De-icing of multi-layer composite plates using ultrasonic guided waves

Yun Zhu, J. L. Palacios, Joseph L. Rose, Edward C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A guided wave analysis is developed to investigate the use of ultrasonic non-thermal de-icing on multi-layer composite materials. The interface shear stress concentration coefficient (ISCC) is superimposed on the dispersion curves of the composite structure. By choosing an optimum wave mode and frequency, ultrasonic guided waves can induce delaminating transverse shear stresses at the interface between the ice layer and the substrate structure. The optimum mode and frequency to de-icing a given multi-layered system is identified as that mode-frequency combination with maximum ISCC values at the accreted ice interface and minimized ISCC values at the interface of the inner plies forming the composite. Theoretical results provide a tool for designing ultrasonic de-icing systems for composite rotor blades. The inter layer shear stresses are 1/8 of the transverse shear stresses encountered at the interface of an accreted ice layer and the erosion cap of the composite leading edge. Assuming that the adhesion strength of ice is 2 MPa, the maximum interface stresses at the inner layers of the composite are 0.25 MPa, one order of magnitude less than the static shear stress required for ply debonding. In addition, a feasibility experiment to demonstrate that ultrasonic excitation affects ice bonding to composite structures is conducted. These results are compared to those obtained with a thermal device at the same conditions and input power. Ultrasonic excitation provided by a resonating disk (38 KHz) affects freezer ice bonding with an input power of 0.5 W/in2. Deicing can occur as a result of interface fatigue, thermal melting, cracking, and/or delamination. Ice interface cracking was observed 1 minute and 25 seconds after the actuator was turned on.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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