NASA's Ice Detection Technology

Date:         06 Aug 98 11:26:11 
From:         "Grant Parsamyan" <parsamya@usc.edu>
Organization: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
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Hello,

I work for the NASA Technology Transfer Center. We take the latest NASA
developed technologies and try to find commercial applications for them. If
you are interested in seeing one of NASA's latest ice detection
technologies,
you can view information by going to the address below:

http://monica.usc.edu/CommQuest/deice/

We would like to get your opinion on potential commercial uses for the
Ice Detector and Deicing Fluid Effectiveness Monitoring System. You can give
us your feedback
through the web site or by sending an e-mail to :

dabney@usc.edu

We appreciate your input,

Rob Dabney
Project Manager
NASA Far West RTTC

Technology Description:
Developed by the NASA Ames Research Center, the ice detector and deicing
fluid effectiveness monitoring system measures atmospheric conditions and
the thickness of ice  to provide information on the effectiveness of deicing
fluid being applied.

Ice Detector and Deicing Fluid Effectiveness Monitoring Systems can be used
to detect the formation of  ice and to ensure that the minimum amount of
deicing fluid is used to melt ice. The system detects ice at levels you
specify and continuously monitors the concentration and amount of deicing
fluid needed to deice a surface, thereby minimizing pollution of the
environment from excess deicing fluids.   The technology saves energy and
chemicals by deicing only when needed instead of automatically or
periodically.

The system is ideal for use in airplanes and helicopters but could also be
used in commercial refrigeration applications, road surfaces and a number of
other commercial applications.  In flight applications, It is crucial for a
pilot to know that a deicing process has been completed successfully.  The
flight crew can detect and monitor the deicing process to make sure all ice
has been  removed.

This ensures that no more deicing fluid is applied than is needed, which
will prevent excessive harm to the environment.   In commercial
refrigeration applications the Ice Detector and Deicing Fluid Effectiveness
Monitoring System would deice only when ice is detected.  Currently, many
commercial refrigeration systems deice on a scheduled or automatic basis.
Applying this technology could greatly reduce energy and chemical
consumption in refrigeration systems.

The invention consists of two components: an ice detector and a deicing
fluid effectiveness monitoring system. The ice detection portion is composed
of a temperature sensor and a parallel arrangement of electrodes whose
coefficient of coupling indicates the formation and the thickness of the
ice.  The fluid effectiveness-monitoring portion comprises a temperature
sensor and an ionic-conduction cell array that measures the conductivity of
the deicing fluid, which depends on its concentration and its freezing
point.