News Service


Alric Rothmayer, Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, (515) 294-8851
Jen-Ching Tsao, Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, (515) 294-8245
Arianna McKinney, News Service, (515) 294-6881


AMES, Iowa -- Alric Rothmayer, an Iowa State University aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics professor, and Jen-Ching Tsao, a temporary assistant professor, have been awarded nearly $85,000 by NASA to learn more about ice. The researchers specifically want to model surface icing roughness to understand how icing can affect the performance and safety of aircraft.

"Surface icing occurs when an aircraft passes through a cloud of supercooled water droplets that are in a liquid state at less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit," Rothmayer said.

If an aircraft stays in the cloud for a few minutes, then a significant amount of ice can accumulate on its surfaces and can alter its aerodynamic performance to the point where the aircraft can no longer be controlled.

Rothmayer said the ISU research will involve analyzing mechanical and thermal interactions between air, water, ice and the metal skin of the aircraft to determine how much of the water freezes at its point of impact on the aircraft and how much remains liquid or freezes at a different location.

"We want to understand the micro-physical factors that influence the accumulation of ice at a particular point on an aircraft surface," Rothmayer said.

Part of the NASA grant will fund the development of an icing simulation laboratory at Iowa State. Rothmayer and Tsao's work will provide information needed to improve methods of predicting surface ice accumulation, which could result in improved design of ice protection systems or contribute to aircraft certification.

- 30 -

Iowa State homepage

University Relations,
Copyright © 1999, Iowa State University, all rights reserved
Revised 02/17/99