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Industrial Engineers Provide Insight on Deicing Strategies at D/FW Airport

May 1, 2008

Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are teaming with the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to develop decision-making tools to optimize physical resources and monitor the discharge of spent chemicals during aircraft deicing operations at the airport.

The team is being led by Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering Associate Professor Victoria Chen. Their work is being funded by a $302,000 award through the National Science Foundation’s Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) program and an additional $115,000 from the D/FW Airport. The GOALI program supports university-industry collaborations on high-risk/high-gain research on fundamental topics that would not have been undertaken by industry alone.

The D/FW Airport funded a 2006 project, also conducted by the team, that studied the environmental impact of airport deicing activities on receiving waterways. Deicing and anti-icing fluids contain glycol, a nutrient that can lead to increased bacterial growth in the receiving waters and reduce dissolved oxygen when present in high concentrations. This project was continued in 2007 to develop a prototype optimization tool that used data mined from sensors monitoring run-off at eight deicing pad locations in an analysis of the airport’s water quality efforts. The GOALI project will develop new, data-driven optimization tools to advance the existing prototype.

In this project, titled “Statistically Parsimonious Adaptive Dynamic Programming for Minimizing the Environmental Impact of Airport Deicing Activities,” Dr. Chen will be assisted by Industrial Engineering Drs. Brian Huff, Jay Rosenberger and Seoung Bum Kim, and Dan Bergman, vice president of D/FW Airport Environmental Affairs. The project is being funded for a three-year period. It is expected to create methodologies having applicability to operations at other airports and also potential uses in a wide variety of complex dynamic systems.