Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Richard Prazenica, Ph.D. and Dae Won Kim, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Ali Yeilaghi Tamijani, Ph.D.


Icing can have a profound impact on aircraft performance during inclement weather conditions. Aircraft icing primarily occurs on the leading edge of wings, tails and engines. The de-icing/anti-icing technologies currently in use are typically bulky, heavy, cover the entire airfoil surface and consume high energy. These drawbacks highlight the need for a de-icing technique that can overcome some or all of the aforementioned problems. Therefore, in this thesis, a proposed de-icing technique is studied in which lightweight Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) actuators are used to break the adhesive bond between the leading edge of a wing and an accumulated ice layer. The concept for this technique relies on the fact that when a structure is excited at its natural frequencies, the shear stress generated is highest at certain modes. This shear stress can be used, therefore, to break the adhesive shear bond provided that it exceeds 1.6 MPa, a threshold that was derived from previous studies of de-icing. Since MFC finite element models are not currently available, a creative solution for modifying standard piezoceramic models is developed in this thesis to reproduce the characteristics of MFC. Theoretical and simulation investigations of the frequency, static and harmonic tip displacement and energy harvesting of a unimorph cantilever beam under MFC actuation are performed, which are then followed by experiments that are conducted to validate the analytical and modeling results. After successfully validating the results, it was concluded that the ABAQUS model of MFC was highly reliable and could be used to model the proposed de-icing application. The MFC finite element model was then used to study the proposed de-icing technique on an aluminum leading edge of an airfoil section. An analysis of the mode shapes, locations, and number and width of MFC actuators was performed to find the best combination of parameters to generate the highest shear stress, and hence the most effective de-icing, for low power consumption. Finally, ice debonding is studied for different ice thicknesses and the total power consumption required for the proposed de-icing technique is also calculated.