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"We Freeze to Please:" A History of NASA's Icing Research Tunnel and the Quest for Flight Safety, by William Leary, hardcover (very good condition)


The formation of ice on wings and other control surfaces of airplanes is one of the oldest and most vexing problems that aircraft engineers and scientists continue to face. While no easy, comprehensive answers exist, the staff at NASAs Icing Research Tunnel (IRT) at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland has done pioneering work to make flight safer for experimental, commercial, and military customers. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) initiated government research on aircraft icing in the 1930s at its Langley facility in Virginia. Icing research shifted to the NACA's Cleveland facility in the 1940s. Initially there was little focus on icing at either location, as these facilities were more concerned with aerodynamics and engine development. With several high-profile fatal crashes of air mail carriers, however, the NACA soon realized the need for a leading research facility devoted to icing prevention and removal. The IRT began operation in 1944 and, despite renovations and periodic attempts to shut it down, has continued to function productively for almost 60 years. In part because icing has proved so problematic over time, IRT researchers have been unusually open-minded in experimenting with a wide variety of substances, devices, and techniques. Early icing prevention experiments involved grease, pumping hot engine exhaust onto the wings, glycerin soap, mechanical and inflatable "boots," and even corn syrup. The IRT staff also looked abroad for ideas and later tried a German and Soviet technique of electromagnetism, to no avail. More recently, European polymer fluids have been more promising. The IRT even periodically had "amateur nights" in which a dentist's coating for children's teeth proved unequal to the demands of super-cooled water droplets blown at 100 miles per hour. Despite many research dead-ends, IRT researchers have achieved great success over the years. They have developed important computer models, such as the LEWICE software, and made significant contributions to prevent ice buildup on turbine-powered commercial aircraft, helicopters, and military planes.

"We Freeze to Please:" A History of NASA's Icing Research Tunnel

SKU: 5-091
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