Boeing has applied for a patent to 3D print fake ice for simulation purposes.
AeroPatent identified the application, which describes a way of depositing “artificial ice shapes” for a plane’s leading edges and tail. These would simulate the extra weight and aerodynamic effects of frozen water.
The patent number US2016076968 and dated March 17 describes, “Dry air flight tests with artificial ice shapes installed allows airplane performance and handling characteristics to be evaluated in stable dry air conditions and with the critical ice shape remaining constant.
For certification purposes, new designs must be tested in known icing conditions, ‘Flight Into Known Icing’ or FIKI, the patent explains.
Such shapes are usually built onto an aircraft’s wings using fiberglass and resin material, notes 3ders.com