A sensor able to detect ice formation in real time could help increase aircraft safety and efficiency.
The planar microwave resonator developed by a team from the University of British Columbia is made up of traces of metal deposited onto a plastic sheet. When water makes contact with the device—which could be installed on an airplane wing—the sensor can detect the phases of the water as it turns to ice, as well as the thickness of the ice itself.
According to Assistant Professor Mohammad Zarifi, "This is a brand-new method for detecting ice formation quickly and accurately. The radiofrequency and microwave technology can even be made wireless and contactless. I wouldn't be surprised if airlines start adopting the technology even for this upcoming winter."