Lightweight Active Anti-Icing/De-Icing for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

Period of Performance: 06/04/2013 - 06/04/2015


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Seashell Technology LLC
3252 Holiday Court #115 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE
La Jolla, CA 92037
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: This Small Business Innovative Research Phase II project will develop and manufacture an active anti-ice system for use on remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). Seashell proposes to design, fabricate, and characterize an anti-ice system based on an electrothermal system that will be light weight, low power, and able to be retrofitted to existing RPA. Seashell will meet the weight, power, and retrofitting criteria by utilizing a high performance heating element and Seashell s proprietary icephobic coating. The enhanced heating element will provide superior thermal conductivity and mechanical properties while lowering the overall film weight when compared to existing technology. The icephobic coating will make the system more robust to environmental icing conditions and lower the power consumption by making the removal of ice and water from the surface more efficient. The system will be tested over a wide range of icing conditions in a commercial icing research tunnel to ensure anti-icing performance. BENEFIT: Anticipated Benefit: As the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) continues to grow the need for an anti icing system to extend the environmental conditions in which they operate is becoming increasingly important. The lack of anti-icing equipment on RPAs limits the use of these aircraft when environmental conditions indicate a high probability for an icing hazard. In general, RPA launches can only be made after specific environmental conditions are met that minimize icing risk. These environmental launch specifications cause unwanted delays and expense due to grounded aircraft. Designing an anti-ice system that can be retrofitted to an existing RPA will eliminate environmental launch requirements and provide both economic and productivity improvements to the military and commercial RPA users. Potential Commercial Applications: Outside of military use, the anti-ice system will be applicable for use on small planes. Most small planes in use today do not have an anti-ice system installed limiting their use to environmental conditions where icing is not a concern. Seashell s proposed anti-ice system will be superior to other anti-ice systems on the market by providing a solution that is more robust to icing, lower weight, more environmentally friendly (no glycol fluids), and without extensive modification for retrofitting to the aircraft.