Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Prof. Charles Eastlake

Committee Member

Dr. Lakshmanan Narayanaswami

Committee Member

Dr. Tej R. Gupta


The purpose of this study is to optimize the flow quality inside the 30-inch x 40-inch subsonic wind tunnel. The tunnel is an open circuit with its inlet positioned adjacent to the side door of the lab; forcing the air to make a ninety degrees turn entering the tunnel. The flow suffered from two main deficiencies, high level of turbulence and slightly unsteady flow with a non-uniform velocity distribution across the test section. By utilizing a hot-film anemometer system and a total pressure rake, turbulence and velocity distribution data were obtained. Rounded corners and a turning vane were installed in front of the inlet to minimize boundary layer separation. Furthermore, a screen was attached to the inlet to help reduce the turbulence level. By combining all the configurations the flow reached a uniform distribution for more than ninety percent of the cross sectional area, with a maximum deviation of one percent from the mean center velocity. Turbulence was reduced from one percent to a half percent. This research could be followed by a more comprehensive effort to further improve the flow quality inside the test section, though it does not seem warranted at this time.