UCL Summer School


Industrial Applications: Modelling Aircraft Icing (Level 2)

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session Two
Module leader
Dr. Ryan Palmer
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
Presentation (30%), Report (70%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

This module is in the interdisciplinary field of icing in relation to aircraft. Ultimately, this course will draw from mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering to provide attendees with a broad overview of the field of aircraft icing, and how the problem may be approached mathematically. This will involve understanding the problem, discussing the current state of engineering solutions, and study of how mathematics can help to improve, enhance and further this field.

Modelling of this phenomena is a threefold approach. Firstly, the trajectory of particles within the fluid flow concerning an oncoming aircraft is calculated. Secondly, the behaviour and mechanics of impinging particles (particles that make contact with the aircraft) needs to be understood. Thirdly, how ice builds up on a surface alongside the possibility of it shedding are important.
This course will serve as an introduction to understanding this field and the analytical modelling of this problem.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Possess a broad understanding of the field of aircraft icing
  • Have a foundational knowledge of the problems that exist within this field ranging from the physical to the theoretical
  • Have gained insight into the engineering and modelling solutions to solve/inform these problems
  • Be able to use a range of methods, of varying depth, difficulty and insight, to model problems in this field
  • Have gained skills important for working with industrial partners on research projects

Module prerequisites

This is a level two module (equivalent to second year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • 10-20 minute group presentation (30%)
  • 2,500 word report (70%)

Module leader

Ryan Palmer (Research Associate, UCL) has a background in applied mathematics with industrial applications. Holding a PhD in Mathematics he has worked on several projects using fluid dynamics/modelling. Ryan’s current work and interests lie in continuum mechanics, in particular particle trajectories near walls and within channels. He is presently collaborating with industry specialists (AeroTex) building expertise and working relationships in the area of aircraft icing – a field that combines modelling techniques in particle trajectories, particle collisions and ice growth, and unites several complex modelling processes and scientific fields – ranging from mathematics to physics and engineering.

Application information

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