What is the National Wind Tunnel Facility?
Using a facility of the NWTF
Facilities included in the initiative
Governance of the NWTF
The National Wind Tunnel Facility is a group of 23 strategically important wind tunnels distributed across 12 universities. In 2014 EPSRC and ATI invested £13.3m in the development of these facilities to keep the UK at the forefront of aerodynamic and fluid mechanics research. In return, the universities have made the facilities available up to 25% of the time to UK based academic and industry researchers.
To date, hundreds of researchers and over 70 UK businesses have made use of the facilities. The NWTF is managed by academics from each of the universities and a centralised project manager. In 2019 five new strategically important university facilities were added to the NWTF portfolio.
The NWTF is looking to build on the success of the original grant which ended in 2019. The goals for the next phase of development will include:
The NWTF aims at keeping the UK at the forefront of aerodynamic and fluid mechanics research. Recognising that the UK has a world-class talent base, the decision to fund the NWTF was taken to match this talent base to world-class facilities. The paradigm shift provided by NWTF is expected to provide for an overall transformative benefit, establish a world-leading capability while being cost-effective and appealing to multiple sectors. The enhanced UK capability in experimental aerodynamics is available to all UK-based researchers and aims to create nodes of excellence attracting young researchers. The NWTF also aims to establish a closer tie with industry creating a pull-through environment and an intended spill-over of the collaboration and benefits to other sectors.
Download a document (click on the image below) highlighting the Mission Statement of the National Wind Tunnel Facility.
Researchers interested in making use of one of the facilities listed in the table below and in the Facilities section will be expected to open a dialogue with the NWTF personnel at an early stage of the formulation of a proposal to ensure that Facility capabilities are best matched to the proposer’s research ideas. This is especially important for new users.
A Technical Annex (TA) (download by clicking here) would need to be completed and sent to NWTF Project Manager Claire McNamara at email@example.com so that discussions with the Wind Tunnel Managers / Owners at the host institutions can start and the time, facility, equipment and support allocated accordingly (a copy of the TA is included at the end of this document too). A brief abstract description of the proposed research needs to be completed in the TA and submitted with any supporting documentation deemed necessary. Completion of this TA will imply permission for user details to be stored in the NWTF and EPSRC’s databases and to be used for mailing, accounting, reporting and other administrative purposes.
Visits to the Facility to discuss how to enable the technical and scientific aspirations of the user and to meet the personnel involved will normally be required. Potential Intellectual Property (IP) will be identified and recorded at this stage in an IP-register and plans put in place for appropriate protection. Where required, non-disclosure agreements will be offered to and signed with potential users. Note that the proposal is not assessed at this stage (this is the responsibility of the funding agency/research council) but the description would help in identifying the right facility, the right equipment and the right level of support required to make the proposed research succeed. EPSRC-funded proposals would be given top priority when it comes to agreeing usage of the wind tunnel and accompanying equipment.
This is a summary of the procedures to use a facility of the NWTF:
Further information about each facility can be found in the Facilities section further down.
|Birmingham||TRAIN rig; ABL tunnel (LS10)|
|Bristol||Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel (LS11)||Low speed closed return|
|Cambridge||Supersonic Tunnels 1 & 2, (TS1, TS2)||Transonic/supersonic; open return / blow down: two identical facilities|
|City||Transonic/Supersonic T5 Tunnel (TS3)||Transonic / supersonic closed return, induction driven|
|City||Low Turbulence Wind Tunnel (LS1)||Low speed closed return|
|Cranfield||Low Speed 8x6 Wind Tunnel (LS2)||Low speed closed return|
|Cranfield||Low Speed 8x4 Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel (LS3)||Low speed open return|
|Cranfield||Low Speed Icing Tunnel (LS4)||Low speed closed return|
|Glasgow||Low Speed 9x7 Wind Tunnel (LS5)||Low speed closed return|
|Imperial||Low Speed 10x5 Low Speed Wind Tunnel (LS6)||Low speed closed return|
|Imperial||Supersonic Wind Tunnel (TS4)||Intermittent hybrid blow-down / suck-down arrangement|
|Imperial||Hypersonic Gun Tunnel (HS1)||Hypersonic intermittent impulsive facility|
|Loughborough||Automotive Tunnel (LS12)||Open circuit closed throat|
|Manchester||Hypersonic Tunnel||Hypersonic wind tunnel|
|Oxford||T6 Free Piston Reflected Shock Tunnel (HS2)||Hypersonic intermittent blowdown|
|Oxford||Low Density tunnel (HS3)||Hypersonic rarefied flow|
|Oxford||High Density tunnel (HS4)||Hypersonic heated ludwieg tube|
|Southampton||R.J. Mitchell Wind Tunnel (LS7)||Low speed closed return|
|Southampton||Anechoic Wind Tunnel (LS8)||Anechoic wind Tunnel|
|Southampton||Hydroscience Tank (LS9)||Towing and wave tank|
|Surrey||EnFlo (LS13)||Meteorological wind tunnel|
The NWTF has a Management Board (MB) that meets approximately every 3 months. This is composed of a Principal Investigator from each of the current host institutions and the NWTF Project Manager. The current MB members are Professor Mark Sterling (University of Birmingham), Professor Mahdi Azarpeyvand (University of Bristol), Professor Holger Babinsky (University of Cambridge), Dr Chetan Jagadeesh (City University), Professor Kevin Garry (Cranfield University), Dr Richard Green (University of Glasgow), Professor Jonathan Morrison (Imperial College), Professor Martin Passmore (Loughborough University), Professor Shan Zhong (University of Manchester), Professor Peter Ireland (University of Oxford), Professor Bharathram Ganapathisubramani (University of Southampton), Professor Alan Robins (University of Surrey) and Claire McNamara (NWTF Project Manager). An Advisory Board (AB) oversees the broader aims of the NWTF, monitors the running of the NWTF and reviews progress versus Key Performance Indicators. The AB is composed of representatives from EPSRC, ATI, senior academics (from the UK and abroad), representatives from industry, an existing National Facility Manager and is chaired by an independent senior UK-based aerodynamicist.
Organised by institution (click on the institution name for further information)
Organised by kind (click on the facility kind for further information)
If you are interested in using any of the facilities in the NWTF, or would like to contact any of the Principal Investigators, please contact the National Wind Tunnel Facility Project Manager, Claire McNamara.