Welcome to the National Wind Tunnel Facility of the United Kingdom





New: You can now download a presentation to the Advisory Board
who met in July 2020; please scroll further down.


About the National Wind Tunnel Facility

In this section:

What is the National Wind Tunnel Facility?
Aims
Mission Statement
Using a facility of the NWTF
Facilities included in the initiative
Governance of the NWTF

What is the National Wind Tunnel Facility?

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:

  • Developing the latest instrumentation and equipment to keep facilities at the forefront worldwide and enhance remote access capabilities.
  • Explore building an Experimental Database to catalogue open access research outputs and promote better connectivity with the CFD community.
  • Creating a community hub for academics and industry with events and forums to increase connectivity, inclusivity and information sharing within the UK wind tunnel community.
  • Hosting training workshops to share expertise.
  • Developing a membership proposal for academics from non-NWTF universities and industry to increase inclusivity.
  • Increasing researcher mobility and crosspollination of ideas.
  • Marketing and promotion to generate greater awareness of the availability of this national resource.
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    Aims

    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.


    Mission Statement

    Download a document (click on the image below) highlighting the Mission Statement of the National Wind Tunnel Facility.

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    Using a facility of the NWTF

    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 admin@nwtf.ac.uk 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:

    1. Interested user/researcher contacts the NWTF Project Manager with a completed (as far as possible) Technical Annex.
    2. Project Manager initiates contact with personnel at facility indicated by user.
    3. Meeting/visit set up to discuss details, identify IP, complete TA, and the go-ahead given if both sides agree.
    4. A decision on acceptance for the facility and equipment use is made. If appropriate, alternative wind tunnel facilities are also proposed.
    5. Continuous interaction between Facility managers and user during proposal writing (if applicable) will take place (monitored by NWTF Project Manager).
    6. Final resource request will be agreed, costed and recorded on a pro-forma for submission to EPSRC with proposal (if applicable).
    7. Proposal Submission: Any user planning to use an NWTF facility, applying for EPSRC, BBSRC or NERC funding through JeS, should select NWTF as a facility although they should put £0 against it. The wind tunnel costs are then claimed under Directly Incurred Costs. Where asked for a Technical Assessment during proposal submission, the completed and signed Technical Annex should be uploaded.
    8. User requested to fill in Customer feedback form on effectiveness of this important part of the interaction with User groups.
    9. On being informed by EPSRC and the user that the proposal has been funded (if applicable), a meeting is held at the facility between the user and the managers – time-scales for the work and technical requirements are further discussed in detail and agreed upon.


    Facilities included in the Initiative

    Further information about each facility can be found in the Facilities section further down.

    Institution         Name        Designation
    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


    Governance of the NWTF

    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.


    Presentation to the Advisory Board, July 2020

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    Download the presentation. (click on the image).

    Facilities

    Organised by institution (click on the institution name for further information)

    Cambridge University Supersonic Tunnels 1 & 2
    Designation: Transonic/supersonic; Open return / blow down: two identical facilities.
    Test Section Size: 0.12m x 0.2m x 0.6m

    City University London T5 Transonic / Supersonic Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Transonic / Supersonic closed return, induction driven.
    Test Section Size: 0.2 m x 0.25 m x 0.5m

    City University London Low Turbulence Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low Speed closed return.
    Test Section Size: 0.91 m x 0.91 m x 3m. 6.75:1 contraction ratio.

    Cranfield University 8x6 Low Speed Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed closed return.
    Test Section Size: 2.4m x 1.8m. 7:1 contraction ratio

    Cranfield University Icing Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed open return.
    Test Section Size: a) 0.76m x 0.76m; b) 0.81m octagonal; c) 0.4m x 0.4m

    Glasgow University 9x7 Low Speed Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed closed return.
    Test Section Size: 2.74m x 2.1m x 5m. 5:1 contraction ratio.

    Imperial College London 10' x 5' Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed closed return.
    Test Section Size:
    Section 1: 3.04 m (wide) x 1.52 m (high) x 20 m (long). 3.41:1 contraction ratio. Max speed: 41 m/s.

    Section 2: 5.7 m (wide) x 2.8 m (high) x 18 m (long). Max. speed 12 m/s.

    Imperial College Supersonic Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Intermittent hybrid blow-down / suck-down arrangement.
    Test Section Size: 0.15 m x 0.15 m x 2 m (max). 20:1 contraction ratio.

    Imperial College London Hypersonic Gun Tunnel
    Designation: Hypersonic, intermittent impulsive facility.
    Test Section Size: 0.6 m (diameter) x approx. 1 m. Key point is that tunnel can accommodate models 800+ mm long if slender.
    Loughborough University Automotive Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed wind tunnel.
    Test Section Size: 1.92m (W) x 1.32m (H) x 3.6m (L)
    Oxford University Low Density Tunnel
    Designation: Hypersonic Rarefied Flow.
    Test Flow Size: Contoured Mach 6 nozzle, 30-60 mm core flow; Mach 5-10 conical nozzle with 20-50 mm core flow.


    Southampton University R.J. Mitchell Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low Speed Closed Return.
    Test Section Size: 3.6m x 2.5m x 10.5m. 5:1 contraction ratio.

    Southampton University Anechoic Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Anechoic Wind Tunnel.
    Test Section Size: 1.0m x 0.75m. ~8:1 contraction ratio. Anechoic Chamber Size: 8.15m x 5.5m x 4.75m.

    Southampton University Hydroscience Tank
    Designation: Towing and Wave Tank.
    Test Section Size: 140m long x 6m wide x 3.5m deep with 0.5m free board.

    Organised by kind (click on the facility kind for further information)

    Cambridge University Supersonic Tunnels 1 & 2
    Designation: Transonic/supersonic; Open return / blow down: two identical facilities.
    Test Section Size: 0.12m x 0.2m x 0.6m

    University of Bristol Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Closed-circuit wind tunnel and a large aeroacoustic chamber
    Test Section Size: 7m x 4.5m x 3.5m

    City University London T5 Transonic / Supersonic Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Transonic / Supersonic closed return, induction driven.
    Test Section Size: 0.2 m x 0.25 m x 0.5m

    City University London Low Turbulence Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low Speed closed return.
    Test Section Size: 0.91 m x 0.91 m x 3m. 6.75:1 contraction ratio.

    Cranfield University 8x6 Low Speed Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed closed return.
    Test Section Size: 2.4m x 1.8m. 7:1 contraction ratio

    Cranfield University Icing Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed open return.
    Test Section Size: a) 0.76m x 0.76m; b) 0.81m octagonal; c) 0.4m x 0.4m

    Glasgow University 9x7 Low Speed Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed closed return.
    Test Section Size: 2.74m x 2.1m x 5m. 5:1 contraction ratio.

    Imperial College London 10'x 5' Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low speed closed return.
    Test Section Size:
    Section 1: 3.04 m (wide) x 1.52 m (high) x 20 m (long). 3.41:1 contraction ratio. Max speed: 41 m/s.

    Section 2: 5.7 m (wide) x 2.8 m (high) x 18 m (long). Max. speed 12 m/s.

    Imperial College Supersonic Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Intermittent hybrid blow-down / suck-down arrangement.
    Test Section Size: 0.15 m x 0.15 m x 2 m (max). 20:1 contraction ratio.

    Imperial College London Hypersonic Gun Tunnel
    Designation: Hypersonic, intermittent impulsive facility.
    Test Section Size: 0.6 m (diameter) x approx. 1 m. Key point is that tunnel can accommodate models 800+ mm long if slender.

    Loughborough University Automotive Tunnel
    Designation: Open circuit, closed throat
    Test Section Size: 1.92m (W) x 1.32m (H) x 3.6m (L)

    Oxford University Low Density Tunnel
    Designation: Hypersonic Rarefied Flow.
    Test Flow Size: Contoured Mach 6 nozzle, 30-60 mm core flow; Mach 5-10 conical nozzle with 20-50 mm core flow.


    Southampton University R.J. Mitchell Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Low Speed Closed Return.
    Test Section Size: 3.6m x 2.5m x 10.5m. 5:1 contraction ratio.

    Southampton University Anechoic Wind Tunnel
    Designation: Anechoic Wind Tunnel.
    Test Section Size: 1.0m x 0.75m. ~8:1 contraction ratio. Anechoic Chamber Size: 8.15m x 5.5m x 4.75m.

    Southampton University Hydroscience Tank
    Designation: Towing and Wave Tank.
    Test Section Size: 140m long x 6m wide x 3.5m deep with 0.5m free board.

    Surrey University EnFlo Tunnel
    Designation: Meteorological Wind Tunnel
    Test Section Size: 20 x 3.5 x 1.5 m

    Contacts

    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.

    Address


    Ms Claire McNamara,
    Department of Aeronautics,
    CAGB,
    Imperial College,
    London, SW7 2AZ,
    United Kingdom


    Accessibility Statement


    To download accessibility statement, click on the image below
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