Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Develop Runway Anti-Icing System

16.11.2011
Conductive overlays would reduce airport maintenance expense

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas are developing an anti-icing system that could make airport runways safer and less expensive to maintain during winter months. The approach uses a conventional photovoltaic system to supply energy to a conductive concrete slab that would function as a surface overlay on runways. Energy conducted throughout the slabs allows them to continually maintain temperatures above freezing and thus prevent accumulation of snow and ice.


The researchers test site shows photovoltaic panels (foreground) providing power to a battery-storage system and concrete panels (background).

“Major U.S. airports do a good job of keeping runways safe and clear of ice and snow,” said Ernie Heymsfield, associate professor of civil engineering. “But this is a labor-intensive and expensive process, especially for northern airports. The St. Paul, Minnesota, airport, for example, budgets approximately $4 million annually for snow removal. For various reasons, including the fact that it is grid-energy independent, our system could put a huge dent in this budget.”

After initial design, Heymsfield now leads a team of researchers who are testing the slab at the university’s Engineering Research Center in south Fayetteville. The slab consists of two layers above existing soil and a gravel base.

The bottom layer – the first layer above the gravel base – is a 20-foot by 24-foot base slab that does not contain any conductive properties. Above the base slab is a surface layer that consists of twelve overlay panels, each 4 feet by 10 feet. Ten of these panels are made with a special concrete mix that conducts heat much like a cast-iron skillet exposed to a stove burner. Two control panels made of conventional concrete mix provide a basis for comparison to the conductive panels.

The photovoltaic system supplies DC power to electrodes embedded within the conductive concrete panels. The components of the photovoltaic system include an array of cells that convert sunlight into energy, a battery storage bank and a regulator to control energy between the array and the batteries. Energy is transferred from the batteries to the electrodes. The intrinsic thermal-mass properties of the concrete mix also enable the slab to absorb large amounts of heat from ambient temperature conditions, which minimizes the cost of the photovoltaic system.

Preliminary tests showed that although heat flow was non-uniform and concentrated on an area near the energy source, the conductive panels responded much faster to extreme surface temperature reductions after the researchers applied a thin layer of ice. Heymsfield said the non-uniformity and concentration of heat flow will be corrected by modifying the electrode configuration. The researchers will continue testing the system through the 2011-12 winter season.

If successful, the modified pavement could be an alternative to current snow and ice-removal methods, which include plowing, blowing and applying chemicals. There are various pavement de-icing methods, including chemical, thermal, electric and microwave, but these methods are expensive because they rely on grid power or require a high number of airport personnel.

Since 1978, slush, ice or snow has contributed to approximately 100 accidents and incidents on U.S. runways involving jet or turboprop aircraft weighing more than 5,600 pounds.

Initial results of the study will be presented at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in January 2012.

CONTACTS:
Ernie Heymsfield, associate professor, civil engineering
College of Engineering
479-575-7586, ernie@uark.edu
Matt McGowan, science and research communications officer
University Relations
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu

Matt McGowan | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes
20.07.2018 | Science China Press

nachricht Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers
20.07.2018 | Purdue University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>