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UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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Research case studies

Research case study: Improving air safety

The Department of Mathematics has a strong tradition in applied mathematics, in particular fluid dynamics. Research led by Prof Frank Smith has led to improved aircraft safety through research into impacts on water layers.The formation of ice on aircraft is highly complex, and engineering solutions are neither robust nor complete.
Over several years, Prof Smith’s team studied the nature of droplets of water, how they impact, splash, skim, freeze and thaw on aircraft.

The work at UCL has fed directly into commercial applications in aircraft ice protection systems, particularly through a partnership with engineering consultancy firm AeroTex UK.