How Does Aircraft Anti-Icing and Deicing Equipment Work?

While aircraft are designed to operate within rigorous environments, they must have certain systems to keep them protected when conditions threaten safety and performance. For example, when aircraft conduct flights in colder areas or during winter months, they face the risk of having ice buildups on various surfaces. While seemingly minor to those unfamiliar, the buildup of ice can quickly alter airflow and lift, and various instruments may lose the ability to make readings when their ports are frozen over. Because of this, many aircraft utilize what are known as deicing and anti-icing systems, both of which remove and prevent ice formations. In this blog, we will answer the question of how deicing and anti-icing systems work, allowing you to better understand how flights are kept safe in freezing conditions.

The process of deicing is typically conducted prior to the start of a flight, ensuring that any ice that has built up between operations is removed. Depending on weather and conditions, deicing will generally be carried out as close to lift off as possible so that there is a low chance of reformation. To remove this ice, deicing equipment for aircraft is used, that of which sprays deicer fluid across surfaces. Deicer fluid is a mixture of glycol and water that has been heated and pressurized for optimal removal. While the glycol, heat, and pressure does well to remove ice from the fuselage, wings, and other structures, it is not optimal for preventing further formations. As such, anti-icing fluids and systems must be used.

Once the deicing fluids have been applied, an anti-icing fluid will be used next. This fluid contains a much higher concentration of glycol, and its freezing point is well below 32°F/0°C. Additionally, an additive is present in the mixture, ensuring that the coat sticks during takeoff. Once the aircraft is in the air and away from any ground support equipment, it is up to onboard systems to continue protection through ice prevention and removal.

For jet aircraft, hot air from the engines may be routed so that ice can be melted on the wings, fuselage, etc. Additionally, some aircraft may also have balloon-like boot equipment situated in the wing and tail assemblies, those of which may be inflated with air to break up accumulations that affect airflow. Beyond such examples, other ice removal and prevention equipment include cockpit windshield heating elements and coatings, deicers for engine inlets, propeller electro-thermal boot deicers, and so much more.

When it comes down to choosing which equipment or solutions are best for your aircraft, there are a few considerations to make that extend past the environments and temperatures you typically operate in. One of these is to determine what sections of your aircraft are at risk so that equipment can be chosen correctly. This means that if you have a propeller, you will most likely need compatible equipment. Additionally, weight should be taken into consideration, as while boot deicers allow for a quick breakup of ice on wings and tails, they can raise the overall weight of the aircraft. 

When you narrow down the particular plane deicing equipment and anti-icing systems you require, look no further than ASAP Fulfillment for procurement. On our database, we list over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts that have been sourced from top manufacturers we trust. All of our offerings are ready for purchase at any time, and we encourage customers to submit quote requests for items of interest using our online RFQ service. Upon receiving a request, a member of our staff will quickly review your information and formulate a customized solution that caters to your requirements, all within 15 minutes or less. See how we can act as your strategic sourcing partner today when you kickstart the purchasing process with us!


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