How Large Should a Wing Be for Wind Tunnel Testing?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the size of a wing for testing in a wind tunnel and the cost associated with wind tunnel work. It is mentioned that there is no standard size for wind tunnels and they can range from small ones found in high schools to life-sized ones. The specific purpose of the wind tunnel test and the type of model being used also affect the size needed. The concept of dimensionless groups and similitude is mentioned as a way to scale the model for different equipment. Links are provided for further information on the topic.
  • #1
scott_alexsk
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Hello,

What is the size of a wing generally for testing in a standard wind tunnel?

Thanks,
-scott
 
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  • #2
It depends on the wind tunnel facility.

Call them and ask, though you are not going to afford to have any wind tunnel work done. It's going to run you at least 60k.
 
  • #3
There is no such thing as a "standard wind tunnel". They come in all sizes, from a few inches to life-sized.
 
  • #4
I know of some high schools that have small wind tunnels. I guess the question remains what you are trying to test. Is it high speed or low speed? Are you looking at an entire model or just a cross section of an airfoil?
 
  • #5
I am just trying to test a cross section of an airfoil, at low speeds.

Thanks,
-scott
 
  • #6
Are you familiar with the topic of dimensionless groups and similitude? Do a search on Buckingham Pi Theorem. This allows you to scale your model for the equipment you have (in most cases). Take a look through the following links:

http://www.aerodyn.org/WindTunnel/wind_tunnel.html#scale_effects
http://www.aerodyn.org/WindTunnel/numbers.html
 
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  • #7
Thank you very much Mr. Garvin.

-scott
 
  • #8
I hope it helped. If not, keep asking questions.
 

Related to How Large Should a Wing Be for Wind Tunnel Testing?

1. How does wing size affect aerodynamics in a wind tunnel?

The size of a wing plays a crucial role in determining its aerodynamic performance. In a wind tunnel, larger wings generally generate more lift and have a higher stall angle compared to smaller wings. However, larger wings also create more drag, which can decrease overall efficiency.

2. What is the optimal wing size for different types of aircraft?

The optimal wing size for an aircraft depends on various factors such as its intended use, weight, and speed. For example, commercial airliners have larger wings to generate more lift for heavier loads, while fighter jets have smaller wings to reduce drag and increase maneuverability.

3. How do researchers test different wing sizes in a wind tunnel?

Researchers use scaled models of aircraft wings in wind tunnels to test the effects of different sizes. These models are typically made of lightweight materials such as foam or plastic and are attached to a balance that measures lift and drag forces. By varying the size of the model's wings, researchers can gather data on their aerodynamic performance.

4. Can wind tunnel testing accurately predict real-world performance of different wing sizes?

Wind tunnel testing is a valuable tool for studying the aerodynamics of different wing sizes, but it is not a perfect representation of real-world conditions. Factors such as air turbulence, temperature, and pressure can affect the results. Therefore, wind tunnel testing should be used in conjunction with other methods, such as computer simulations and flight testing, to get a more accurate prediction of real-world performance.

5. Are there any limitations to using wind tunnel testing for wing size research?

While wind tunnel testing is a useful tool, it does have some limitations. The scale models used may not accurately represent the full-scale wing, and the wind tunnel itself may not perfectly simulate real-world conditions. Additionally, wind tunnel testing can be expensive and time-consuming, making it less feasible for certain research projects.

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