ESR 12

Pau Riera i Portillo

Farnborough, UK

Project title:
Development of models for the adhesive and cohesive failure of ice

Ian Roberts

Starting date: 04/08/2021

Research updates:


About him:

“My interest in physics and mathematics led me to study a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain. After four years of widely multidisciplinary education, I realized the thing I enjoyed the most was numerical characterization and modeling of physical phenomena. My Thesis regarded the quantification of the dependence of cloud-formation statistics in the atmospheric boundary layer on environmental conditions, which we achieved by implementing and simulating a series of stochastic variables based on existing models. Afterward, I enrolled in a master’s degree in Computational Physics at Stockholm University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden to further pursue my ambition. During my MSc, I developed a strong bond with computational methods and the numerical solution of partial differential equations. Close to the end of my first year, my research interests drove me to apply to a Research Assistantship by the Department of Mathematics of KTH. By developing a collection of collocation methods alongside finite element models, we aimed to solve numerically non-linear Schrödinger equations. More precisely, we focused on the Gross-Pitaevskii equation, which rules the dynamics of Bose-Einstein condensates and often poses a challenge when trying to conserve some properties using traditional approaches. Furthermore, for my Master’s Thesis, I conducted some experimental tests to observe the implications of such methods and provide validation for a potentially preferable alternative to existing techniques. In the finite element method, I had found an extremely powerful tool that I wanted to improve on to be able to understand and characterize a wide range of physical phenomena. It was then that I came across SURFICE and, more specifically, a position that would allow me to delve deeper into finite element analysis as well as icing physics, a subject I had had no contact with. Even though ice adhesion is quite new to me, I am excited to try to unravel such a complex topic using numerical means”

Goals in the project:

The main objective of the project is focused on the prediction of ice failure (either adhesive or cohesive) on surfaces protected by hybrid active-passive systems (icephobic coatings along with electrothermal, electromechanical or piezoelectric systems). Moreover, such failure needs to be predicted under different circumstances, such as centrifugal loading or aerodynamic forces on said surface. In order to attain our goal, we must first analyse existing data relating ice adhesion and surface features under different loading scenarios. However, due to the inherent complexity of the adhesion and variability in testing approaches, the data presents substantial scatter. We may therefore need to rely on stochastic approaches for the model to be consistent.

It will then follow a suitable development of a model capable of predicting the ice failure on a surface when subject to different loadings. A simulation tool employing finite element analysis is the ultimate goal. Finally, such model is to be validated by means of experimental tests (for example, in icing wind tunnels).