Developing Anti-Icing Airfield Runways Using Surface Embedded Heat Wires and Renewable Energy

Project Details







Heymsfield, Ernie; Daniels, Joseph W; Saunders, Robert F; Kuss, Mark L


Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program, University of Arkansas Fayetteville


Airport runways, Anti-icing, Electric wire, Heating systems, Renewable energy sources, Snow and ice control

Project description

Airfield runway safety is significantly affected by winter snow, ice, and slush conditions. These wet wintry conditions impact aircraft control and stopping distances. Airport operators use deicing chemicals and plowing to maintain safe runways during wet wintry conditions. However, snow removal is costly. This article presents an alternative approach to applying deicing chemicals and plowing. The approach discusses using a heated pavement system (HPS) with surface embedded wire. Nichrome heating wire is embedded at the slab surface level and energized by an outside source to heat the pavement through Joule heating. Renewable energy generated through a photovoltaic system is used to energize the wires within the concrete slab. To reduce energy demand, the system is designed as an anti-icing system in contrast to a deicing system. Consequently, energy is continually supplied to the system to maintain an above freezing pavement surface temperature independent of ambient weather conditions.An anti-icing runway slab was developed by supplying DC energy from a photovoltaic energy system to experimental concrete slabs with surface embedded heat wire. Experiments were conducted supplying energy to test panels and analyzing pavement surface temperature changes. Energy usage is controlled in the proposed system using control relays. The control relays allow current flow to only surface embedded wires in pavement sections that require a pavement surface temperature increase. This article identifies the challenges and benefits of using surface embedded heat wires with a photovoltaic system to develop an anti-icing pavement system. The approach discussed in this article proposes methodology to develop an anti-icing airfield runway pavement system that relies on a sustainable energy source, solar energy, as it’s energy source. Solar energy is used to recharge a storage energy bank for energizing the proposed system.