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Microwave Technique for Liquid Water Detection in Icing Applications

University of Oxford-Matthew McGilvray, David Gillespie
University of Southern Queensland-John Leis, David Buttsworth, Ramiz Saeed, Khalid Saleh
Published 2019-06-10 by SAE International in United States
The partial melting of ingested ice crystals can lead to ice accretion in aircraft compressors, but accurately measuring the relatively small fraction of liquid water content in such flows is challenging. Probe-based methods for detecting liquid water content are not suitable for deployment within turbofan engines, and thus alternatives are sought. Recent research has described approaches based on passive microwave sensing. We present here an approach based on active microwave transmission and reflection, employing a vector network analyzer. Utilization of both transmission and reflection provides additional data over and above emission or transmission only, and permits a more controllable environment than passive sensing approaches. The paper specifically addresses the question of whether such an approach is viable within the context of representative icing wind tunnel and engine flow conditions. A quasi-thermal equilibrium approach is presented herein to estimate the melting ratio during microwave analysis of samples at 0 °C. Experimental results using microwaves in the 2.45GHz region are presented, and post-processing methods investigated. This is followed by an investigation of detection limits for ice accretion…
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