Multi-disciplinary Study of Atmospheric Ice Accretion Physics and Developing Optimal Technological Solutions to Minimize Ice Accretion Effects

Photo: Muhammad Virk

Research Focus

The project activities are divided into six work packages (WP).

WP 1: Project Management & Coordination

This WP mainly focus on coordinating the project activities in terms of research and administration. It will monitor the progress of project activities, deliverables, and milestones. This WP will be jointly coordinated by Professor Muhammad Virk and Professor Birkelund Yngve.

WP 2: Ice Accretion Physics - Micro-Scale Study

Atmospheric ice accretion on structures is hazardous for safe and cost-effective operations in cold regions. Many forms of atmospheric ice can accrete on structures, depending on shape, exposure and heat dissipation characteristics of the structure. Atmospheric ice accretion physics on structures may appear straight forward at first glance; however, a deeper look reveals many layers of complexity in the physical processes involved in this coupled process such as airflow simulations, water droplet trajectories, surface thermodynamics and phase change. There is a growing need to develop a better understanding of the ice accretion physics on structures for its safe design and durability. nICE projects will address the issues related to micro scale study of ice accretion physics.

For the micro-scale study of ice accretion, the focus of this WP will be to study airflow/droplet behavior and resultant ice accretion on structures.  Analytical, experimental, and numerical techniques will be used to carry out this study. This work package will mainly include the following research tasks:

  • Study of airflow, droplet behavior and resultant ice accretion on structures
  • Study of accreted ice loads on different non streamlined geometric configurations in comparison to circular cylinder as per ISO-12494 standard. This will help to develop an improved analytical model of ice accretion on non-streamlined geometries, as present ISO model is for streamlined circular shape objects.
  • Field ice monitoring, lab experiments and numerical simulations of icing.

WP leader: Professor Muhammad Virk 

Participants: Prof. Lubomir Dechevski, Prof. Yngve Birkelund, Dr. Xingbo HanDr. Pavlo Sokolov, Dr. Hassan Khawaja, Dr. Andreas Seger, Arefeh Lotfi.

WP 3: Mesoscale Modelling of Icing

Mesoscale modelling of icing events requires meteorological parameters information such as wind speed, temperature, and relative humidity. Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models such as WRF, AROME and COAMPS have been widely used for this purpose. NWP models are used for input to the ice physics model to estimate the icing events and quantifying icing loads. Currently, when using NWP models, as input, ice accretion on a circular cylinder (ISO-12494) is being assumed in the ice physics model. Small variation in the atmospheric parameters can cause strong fluctuations in the ice accretion. Currently, state of the art NWP models has challenges with forecasting icing events in case of complex flow behavior, both because commonly used cloud parameterization methods generally overestimate the amount of frozen water content and underestimate the concentration of supercooled liquid water. All these effects can lead to errors in the meso-scale numerical modelling of ice loads on structures. nICE projects will address the issues related to meso scale study of ice accretion physics.

This work package aims at mesoscale simulations of wind flow physics and ice load maps. The focus will be to improve the performance of mesoscale NWP models for forecasting of icing events based on comparison between model and field icing measurements and meteorological measurements. This WP will include the following tasks:

  • High resolution mesoscale simulations of ice loads using NWP models to better simulate the meteorological conditions and associated icing events. Different physical options in the simulations will provide estimates of atmospheric parameters related to icing.
  • NWP simulations for icing events in case of complex flow behaviors.
  • Combine NWP with an ice-physic model to obtain an icing prediction system. This can also be used for statistical investigation of icing risk before implementing installations.
  • Short term mesoscale simulations with high spatial resolution (vertically and horizontally) to match measurement from UAVs.

WP leader:  Prof. Yngve Birkelund.

Participants: Prof. Rune Graversen, Prof. Muhammad Virk, Dr. Eirik Samuelsen, Dr. Xingbo HanDr. Pavlo Sokolov, Pravin Punde.

WP 4: Ice Detection & Mitigation

Ice on structures can be detected using a variety of techniques, which sense the presence of ice based on its mass, electrical and thermal properties. These devices are specific to the operational environment and the area of application, e.g., point detection, event occurrence, mass, rate, etc. Presently, two main approaches to mitigate ice accretion on a structure are, to prevent water droplets from colliding with the surface or to warm the surface above 0oC, so that water cannot freeze. Ice mitigation systems can be categorized as anti-icing or de-icing systems, where anti-icing systems help to prevent ice accretion, while de-icing systems are designed to remove ice after it starts to accrete. Anti-icing technologies are used where continuous operations are required, whereas de-icing technologies are used for the equipment and areas where some accumulation of ice is acceptable. Anti-icing hydrophobic surface coatings can hinder ice formation by minimizing interactions of the surface and incoming water by preventing ice nucleation or reducing the adhesion of accreted ice. nICE project will address the issues related to ice detection and mitigation.

This WP aims to improve knowledge about ice detection and mitigation. The focus will be to develop optimized & cost-effective methods for ice detection and mitigation. This WP will include the following tasks:

  • Study of properties of water and ice to improve knowledge about t ice detection.
  • Study of hydrophobic coatings on structures to better understand their durability under various conditions.
  • Use of Infrared (IR) based ice detection method to design a hybrid system for ice detection and mitigation.
  • Study of topography ice detection method to develop energy-efficient ice mitigation methods.

WP leader: Dr. Hassan Khawaja.

Participants:  Dr. Fuqing Yuan, Prof. Muhammad VirkDr. Charu Sharma, Adeel Yousuf.

WP 5: Ice Disaster Management & Operation's Safety

Atmospheric icing impact the operations, safety, and productivity of different types of production facilities and technology applications. For example, Norway experienced one of the heaviest ice loads on electricity transmission lines during the early 60’s. The measured ice accretion was up to 1.4m x 0.95m that weighted approximately 360 kg/m. Under such circumstances, the damage to infrastructure and loss of power for thousands of inhabitants are likely. Furthermore, atmospheric icing on wind turbine blades can leads to complete stop of wind turbine. Method to secure operation’s safety is needed to avoid damage and loss of production. An ice storm in Quebec & Ontario in Canada in 1998 lasted for 5 days and affected more than 4 million people. This ice storm was considered as one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history. Similarly, in 2008, an ice storm struck the south-central region of China and significantly damaged communication, transportation, and power distribution networks. These incidents highlight the need for better preparation and management in case of such disasters. Therefore, creation of a comprehensive plan for icing safety and ice disaster management is important, which will benefit from knowledge of ice accretion physics and methods for prediction of icing events.

This WP aims to develop knowledge about ice disaster management and operational safety in Arctic regions. Focus will be to develop a dynamic bow-tie diagram (risk pictures) for different methods of ice disaster management. It will document the necessary information and knowledge for making suitable decisions for ice disaster management and improve operational safety. The WP will include the following main tasks:

  • Identify and study the main factors that may influence the operation, performance and safety of different methods of ice management under Arctic conditions.
  • Develop a methodology for risk analysis of ice management, taking into account solutions applied in different branches of arctic infrastructure and operations.
  • Develop risk-informed decision-making frameworks that facilitate the identification of suitable alternatives for ice disaster management in order to improve the operational safety, and also for making decisions relevant to limiting the consequences of icing events and its arising emergency situations.

WP leader: Prof. Javad Barabady.

Participants: Prof. Ove Tobias Gudmestad, Mohsen VahhabiDr. Jan Arne Pettersen,  Dr. Masoud Naseri, Dr. Maria Sydnes, Post-doc researcher 

WP 6: Communication & Dissemination

This WP aims to communicate the findings of the project, both internally within the project and externally during the project period and to plan for the implementation and exploitation of the project deliverables within academia & industry. Specific objectives are to:

  • Ensure a wide geographical and stakeholder-wise distribution of the knowledge and solutions generated within the project to maximize their impact.
  • Communicate and promote the project beyond the project’s own community to a multitude of audiences, including the media and the public at large.
  • Ensure reintegration of results to the educational and research institution sectors to ensure focused research and educational activities extending the scope of knowledge.

This WP runs parallel with the other technical work packages, and it will be active throughout the project period, involving all consortium partners in its tasks.

WP leader: Prof. Lu Jinmei.

Participants: Prof. Muhammad Virk, Prof. Yngve Birkelund, Prof. Javad Barabady, Dr. Hassan Khawaja.