The Subsonic Aerodynamics Laboratory consists of a closed-circuit subsonic wind tunnel, a free-surface water channel, and related instruments. The tests conducted by students in ASE 120K provide valuable hands-on experience in modern measurement and instrumentation techniques applied to the testing of shapes in subsonic flow.

Low-Speed Wind Tunnel

low speed wind tunnel

The low-speed wind tunnel has an open test section that is 36in × 22in × 30in and is designed to provide freestream velocities up to 80ft/s. The base of the test section is outfitted with a programmable three-axis traverse in order to facilitate the testing of different models (aircraft, spheres, cars, etc.) and for placing various flow diagnostic instruments (pitot-static tubes and hot-wire probes) in and about the test section. Students work with the instruments using the latest National Instruments LabVIEW software in a graphical user interface that provides real-time output of all instruments.

Water Tunnel

water tunnel


Dimensions of the Water Tunnel test section are 15in × 20in × 60in with freestream velocities up to 1ft/s and is ideal for flow visualization. A simple model support sting was built to support several different models of aircraft, spheres, cars, etc. There are also separate support structures for rotating objects (e.g., Frisbees) and flat plates. The models are usually fitted with dye ports or bubble wires. The lab has a two-component laser Doppler anemometer (LDA) useful in either wind or water. New optics were purchased for the LDA system in 2008 and the entire system is mounted on a programmable three-degree-of-freedom traverse. The LDA is mostly used in the water channel facility. Most of the models that students test are built either from scratch or from hobby shop kits.