Self-Powered, Light Weight Piezoelectric Fiber Composite Anti-Icing Thumpers

Period of Performance: 05/29/2003 - 01/30/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Cerametrics, Inc.
P.O. Box 128
Lambertville, NJ 08530
Principal Investigator


Advanced Cerametrics, Inc. (ACI) has developed a technology to scavenge waste energy, such as vibration or flex to power active structural control using its piezoelectric fiber composites. Commercial examples include Head Sports' Intelligence skis and tennis rackets. Similar lightweight, flexible actuators are proposed to be placed on rotorcraft surfaces to deform the surface, at short time intervals and stroke, to fracture ice build up. These small devices can each generate nearly 60 pounds of force from energy scavenged from vibration and several powered designs will be prepared in Phase I to test the best concept for fracturing ice. A test stand will be constructed using a rotor section. The most likely candidate designs will be made into self-powered units in Phase II. These self-powered devices can operate independent of outside sources of power or control and are completely autonomous. The fiber composite structure has relatively high loss and thus will assist in improving the low observable characteristics of the aircraft. ACI will partner with Sikorsky Aircraft for this development. All aircraft experience ice build up, which impedes their airworthiness. The ice is heavy and interferes with airflow. The proposed devices will be lightweight and conformable to irregular surfaces. The associated electronics are simple and light. ACI proposes to market the development to the commercial aircraft industry concurrent with the conclusion of the rotorcraft study. ACI has also conceived of a variation on the device to make an anti-ice surface for very high altitude UAV's, which may stay airborne for extended periods and this design will be presented to Lockheed and others involved with these aircraft.