Adverse Environment Rotor Test Stand Facility

Adverse Environment Rotor Test Stand Facility

The Penn State Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence designed, fabricated, and calibrated an Adverse Environment Rotor Test Stand (AERTS) where icing environments can be reproduced.

The mission of this unique facility is to provide means to test new anti-icing and de-icing concepts such as ultrasonic ice protection technologies. In addition, the AERTS facility is used for ice accretion analysis validation and ice adhesion strength measurements to different coatings.

Key Faculty: Jose Palacios

Rotor Icing Test Stand

The facility is formed by a 10-ft. diameter hover stand inside a climatic chamber where aircraft icing conditions can be reproduce. The icing clouds formed by super-cooled water droplets can be controlled in terms of liquid water concentration (or cloud density), water droplet diameter, and temperature.

The rotor can be spun at a maximum of 1200 RPM depending on the rotor configuration. Testing can be conducted at temperatures as cold as -20 degrees Celsius.

Icing Wind Tunnel

The icing wind tunnel is a unique facility that is able to reproduce partially melted ice crystals via convection cooling and heating of water droplets, just as it happens in the atmosphere. Partially melted crystals are the cause of recent engine icing phenomena. The facility can also reproduce airframe icing conditions by creating super-cooled water droplets.

The facility has two test sections: a 36" x 24" section with a maximum test speed of 78 Knots and an 18" x 18" section with a maximum test speed of 150 Knots. Testing can be conducted at temperatures as cold as –10 degrees Celsius.



The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569