Hui Hu | Dupont


Hui Hu



Award Title: 

Testing of Dupont’s Anti-Icing Solution For Wind Turbine Icing Mitigation

Award Amount:


Award Period Date:

June 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018




Hui Hu receives Jischke Professorship

Hui Hu and Dean Rajala
Professor Hu with Dean Rajala at the 2016 College of Engineering convocation

Hui Hu, Professor of Aerospace Engineering, has received the Martic C. Jischke Professorship. 

Hu’s research focuses on developing and applying advanced flow diagnostic techniques to study various complex thermal flow problems. In addition to conducting experimental researches on wind turbine aeromechanics, by using the Iowa State’s Icing Research Tunnel (ISU-IRT), he is also studying aircraft icing, wind turbine icing, as well as other icing related problems including icing on power cables and solar panels. 

Hu said he appreciated the administration acknowledging his work during his time at Iowa State. 

“This is an honor and a great recognition of my work at Iowa State over the years,” Hu said. 

Jischke was Iowa State’s president from 1991 to 2000. Jischke, now president emeritus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., has an academic background in fluid dynamics and aeronautics. 

The Jischke Professorship was established in 2005 by Roger Hanson, who received two 1954 bachelor’s degrees in engineering and a 1958 doctorate degree in theoretical and applied mechanics from Iowa State.

Cracking the ice problem

Three aerospace engineering professors are combining their talents to investigate a widespread issue in the field of aerospace engineering. Ashraf Bastawros, Wei Hong, and Hui Hu will all contribute their expertise to a three-year NASA project which will explore mitigating icing on aircrafts.

Three Professors
Bastawros, Hong, and Hu

NASA, seeking data on reducing ice adhesion, as well as improving ice shedding from aircraft surfaces, sent out a request for researchers looking to study the issue. Not only would the researchers need to be qualified in the micromechanics of fracture, multiscale metaphysics modeling, and experimental aerodynamics, but they would also need to use an icing wind tunnel, of which only a handful exist in the US. 

It just so happens that Iowa State has the only university-based multi-functional icing research tunnel in the entire country. Built in 2014, the icing research tunnel can simulate icing phenomena over a range of conditions for various anti-/de-icing applications.

Not only does the aerospace engineering department possess the right equipment to do the research, they also have the right people for the job.

Hui Hu has researched icing physics and anti-icing/de-icing technology for NASA in the past, and will generate the ice using the wind tunnel. Wei Hong, with his expertise in multiscale multiphysics modeling, will develop predictive modeling capabilities for ice adhesion and assess the role of different surface topology and chemistry. Finally, the three professors will need to examine how the ice cracks as it sits on the wing, which is where Ashraf Bastawros will lend his knowledge of fracture mechanics and experimental micromechanics.

“That is the unique attribute of this proposal. It really transcends many fields which is why I liked to find Wei and Hui along with myself, Bastawros said.”

The trio will print a 3D model of the aircraft wing and let the ice build up on it inside the wind tunnel. From there, they can start to crack it under the same humidity and wind speed it would experience during flight.

“The whole idea is to determine how that ice is attaching to the aircraft critical control surfaces. We will study different coatings and surfaces that effect this interaction,” Bastawros said. “Now, can you characterize the different coatings with a number? Can you say, this coating is better than that coating and by how much?”

By experimenting with surface coatings, Bastawros, Hong, and Hu hope to find an effective way to repel the ice or to create a surface where the ice won’t adhere at all.

NASA will be interested in the field data that the researchers develop and hope to recreate any findings in the icing wind tunnel at the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Dr. Sarkar and Dr. Hu attend international wind engineering workshop

The Department of Aerospace Engineering had two representatives at the U.S.–Japan workshop on wind engineering in May at the University of Tokyo. Dr. Hui Hu and Dr. Partha Sarkar participated in the sixth international workshop, with this year’s theme being “Windstorm Hazard Reduction of Critical Infrastructure.”

Tokyo Skytree
Participants visited the world’s largest tower, the Tokyo Skytree

With both the United States and Japan suffering from severe wind storm disasters in recent years, the workshop’s major objective was to identify the challenges and solutions for reducing those disasters. Dr. Sarkar was one of the organizers of the event, bringing together seventeen members of the U.S. delegate with seventeen members of the Japanese delegate to form the conference.  

Dr. Hu presented on the fluid-structure interactions of wind turbines in violent wind storms.  Dr. Hu explained how wind turbines react during tornado-like winds, microburst-like winds, as well as ice storms. In addition to viewing other presentations during the workshop, Dr. Hu and Dr. Sarkar were also able to interact with other participants and discuss possible future opportunities for collaboration.

One of the events that Dr. Sarkar organized for all participants was a technical tour to the Honjo Life Safety Learning Center and the Tokyo Skytree, which is the tallest tower in the world. The participants heard from the chief designer of the tower about the philosophies and methodologies in designing the tower to better resist damage from wind and earthquakes.