Deicing using piezoelectric actuators is considered as a potential solution to the development of low-energy ice protection systems for rotorcraft. This type of system activates resonant frequencies of a structure using piezoelectric actuators to generate sufficient stress to break the bond between the ice and the substrate. First, a numerical method was validated to assist the design of such systems. Numerical simulations were performed for the case of a flat plate and validated experimentally. The model was then used to study important design parameters such as actuator positioning and activation strategies, and it was concluded that positioning actuators at antinode locations, and activating them in phase with those antinodes to obtain maximum displacements for a given vibration mode. The findings were then used to apply piezoelectric deicing to structures more representative of a helicopter rotor blade. The method was implemented on a thinned Bell 206 main rotor blade and a Bell 206 tail rotor blade. Deicing performance was demonstrated in an icing wind tunnel. Power input to the actuators was below 19 kW/m2 (12 W/inch2) for all structures.
Journal of the American Helicopter Society60, no. 4: 1–12.