Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Wade W. Huebsch.


Aircraft icing is an area of research that has drawn attention since the early times of powered flight at high altitudes. Since World War II, aircraft icing research has gained a great deal of momentum, and several branches of research have developed as a result. These branches include the experimental, analytical and computational methods. With the advent of high-speed computers, the computational methods are becoming the leading icing research area due to their low cost requirements. However, a significant hindrance is the lack of a complete understanding of the icing phenomena, which leads to discrepancies between the predictions and the experiments. In recent years, there have been efforts to improve this situation by accounting for several mechanisms within the computational models. These mechanisms include the droplet splash and re-impingement, water film dynamics, and different heat transfer mechanisms. In support of enhancing the understanding of the aircraft icing process, this Ph.D. study focuses on the relative humidity effects and the interaction of the induced vortices with the droplets and the surface water.;Currently the relative humidity effects are neglected in the icing prediction codes with the assumption that it can at best be a second-order effect. This Ph.D. study looks at the conditions in which the relative humidity effects can pose significant impact on the accreted ice shape. It was seen that the flow around the airfoil suction surfaces and the vortices, which have low-pressure cores, shed from the existing ice shape are highly supersaturated. Therefore, the suction surfaces and the aft regions of the main ice shape are exposed to condensation/deposition due to relative humidity effects. The time scales involved in the relative humidity effects were also investigated by using a numerical droplet growth experiment. In the particular case considered in this study, the required time to re-establish equilibrium, i.e. recover saturation conditions, varied from 12 milliseconds for droplets with 1 micron diameter to 5 seconds for droplets with 20 micron diameter. In an actual flight scenario, the direct impingement region mostly overlaps with the stagnation region, where the local flow is subsaturated. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).