This is a control unit for an ‘ice gun’ used for testing the structural integrity of materials used in the aerospace industry.
Jamtech consultants designed, built and commissioned the completed ‘ice gun’.
This project involved creating a gun capable of firing 10mm ice granules to mimic the velocity that hailstones would strike an aircraft in flight. We designed the mechanism and control gear for firing the ice.
Why was the ice gun created?
Hail is very damaging to aircraft structures, as illustrated in the images below. The most vulnerable parts are the nose that house the weather radar and the leading edges.
Leading edge damage caused in flight by hailstones
Nose damage caused in flight by hailstones
Ice gun design
The configuration of the ice gun can be seen illustrated below.
The ice gun consisted of two horizontal tubes for storing the ice pellets and a barrel mounted below for accelerating the pellets to speed by means of compressed air fed from behind the breach. Pellets were delivered to the breach by means of a piston in each of the horizontal tubes hauled by a motor driven cable system.
Not shown in the illustration is a vibration motor mounted to the frame which was used to keep the ice pellets ‘fluid’ during operation. With out this the pellets would become jammed.
The ice gun produced a controlled method of subjecting vulnerable aircraft components to hail damage without the need to carry out flight trials and with the end goal of improving aircraft safety.