An investigation regarding de-icing of wing leading edges through the use of smart structures is performed. Piezoelectric actuators are used to excite the structures at their natural frequencies. This vibration excites shear stresses at the surface, which lead to the shedding off of ice. For optimal excitation of the structure, the frequency and the placement of piezo elements are determined, in order to maximize the shear stress. First, experimental investigations on a clamped aluminum plate are carried out. With these findings, the transition to an aluminum sample of a wing leading edge is performed. Practical experiments have been carried out on a sample of an aluminum wing leading edge. First, the structural behavior is determined by a modal analysis so that the natural frequencies and the eigenmodes can be calculated. By FE simulation all parameter combinations can be calculated, so the practical tests can be adapted accordingly. Practical experiments have been carried out under realistic conditions in terms of ice formation in an icing research tunnel. Different types of ice have been considered, which require a different level of shear stresses for the de-icing. Further investigations will concern the determination of the suitable frequency and furthermore an ongoing monitoring of the process to take up account on different icing conditions. The studies point to a further possibility of energy efficient de-icing.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.