FEM analysis of in-flight ice break-up

Shiping Zhang, Oubai El Kerdi, Rooh A. Khurram*, Wagdi G. Habashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Using a fracture mechanics framework, this paper presents a finite element method to simulate the break-up of ice accreted on the wings of aircraft. The fully automated ice break-up module is integrated in FENSAP-ICE [1,2], which is an in-flight ice accretion simulation code that solves flow, droplet impingement and ice accretion, in sequence. The approach is validated by comparing with published results for a single edge cracked plate test case. Numerous complicated ice-shapes are analyzed and comparison is performed with a contemporary fracture mechanics code. Under typical icing and flow conditions, linear elasticity is found to be adequate for ice break-up analysis. An important finding of this study is that the breaking of ice has a strong dependence on its shape, i.e. under similar aerodynamic loading, some ice shapes fail while others do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalFinite Elements in Analysis and Design
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Finite element methods
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Ice break-up
  • Ice shedding
  • In-flight icing
  • Multi-physics phenomenon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • General Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Applied Mathematics


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