A mathematical multi-zone ice accretion model used in the numerical simulation of icing on airfoil surface based on three water states, namely, continuous film, rivulets and beads is studied in this paper. An improved multi-zone roughness model is proposed. According to the flow state of liquid water and film flow, rivulets flow governing equations are established to calculate film mass distribution, film velocity, rivulet wetness factor and rivulet mass distribution. Force equilibrium equations of droplet are used to establish the critical conditions of water film broken into rivulets and rivulets broken into beads. The temperature conduction inside the water layer and ice layer is considered. Using the proposed model ice accretion on a NACA0012 airfoil profile with a 4° angle of attack under different icing conditions is simulated. Different ice shapes like glaze ice, mixed ice and rime ice are obtained, and the results agree well with icing wind tunnel experiment data. It can be seen that, water films are formed on the surface, and heights of the films vary with icing time and locations. This results in spatially-temporally varying surface roughness and heat transfer process, ultimately affects the ice prediction. Model simulations indicate that the process of water film formation and evolution cannot be ignored, especially under glaze ice condition.