Icing on Airplane Wings

Icing on airplane wings remains little understood and a major hazard. These photos show examples of ice formation along the leading edge of a swept wing. If an aircraft flies through a cloud of supercooled water droplets, the droplets will freeze shortly after impact with the aircraft’s wings. As ice continues to build up in strange shapes, the aerodynamic profile of the wing changes, which can lead to disastrous effects as the stall and control characteristics of the wing shift. (Photo credit: NASA Glenn Research Center)

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