Wind Tunnels


The RPI Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory contains subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic wind tunnels which are used to perform experiments with air (or water) at speeds from a few to several thousand feet per second. The main lab is located in Ricketts 01, and contains a low speed smoke tunnel with a 4" square test section, and larger subsonic, closed return wind tunnels. These tunnels are primarily used for undergraduate experiments in support of the Aeronautical Engineering program. The largest wind tunnel, in terms of test section area, is the 4' 6' subsonic tunnel, which is an important facility for both laboratory course work and graduate experimentation.

Photos from 1939

A four leg, blowdown transonic and supersonic wind tunnel complex is located above the main laboratory, in Ricketts 101. This facility contains a Mach 3 supersonic tunnel, which is used primarily for undergraduate laboratory experiments. It also includes a transonic leg, and a test section for conducting experiments at a varying Mach number, which can cycle between a minimum of Mach 0.45 and a max of about Mach 0.85.

The RPI Hypersonic Shock Tunnel is located in the main laboratory. This facility is used for research projects, and is capable of producing flows at speeds from Mach 8 to Mach 25 in the 24" test section. Instrumentation for the shock tunnel is calibrated in the Low Pressure Shock Tube, which also exposes undergraduates to impulse facilities in the laboratory course. A Free Surface Water Tunnel, located next to the shock tunnel, is employed in laboratory experiments to introduce undergraduates to laser velocimetry techniques, and in research to study the interaction of wake turbulence with a free surface.

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