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8×6 Supersonic Wind Tunnel

The 8- by 6-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel (8×6) operates either in an aerodynamic closed-loop cycle, testing aerodynamic performance models, or in a propulsion open-loop cycle that tests live fuel burning engines and models.

Facility Overview

Boundary Layer Ingesting Inlet Distortion Tolerant Fan
Boundary Layer Ingesting Inlet Distortion Tolerant Fan, Raised Floor Calibration Hardware.

The 8×6 is a world-class facility that provides researchers with the opportunity to explore higher speed regions of flight. It is NASA’s only transonic propulsion wind tunnel. Actively involved in research testing for over 65 years, this facility has been used to enhance the nation’s aeronautics program serving industry, academia, and NASA in-house efforts. Aircraft such as the Advanced Turboprop, the National Aerospace Plane, and Advanced Tactical Fighter, the Joint Strike Fighter, and the High-Speed Civil Transport have been tested in this facility.

The test section of this facility is 8 ft high by 6 ft wide and 23.5 ft long. The flexible wall nozzle located upstream of the test section is constructed entirely of stainless steel and is used to accelerate the free-stream airflow when its walls are contoured to form a convergent divergent nozzle. To create the pressure required for the airflow to reach speeds up to Mach 2.0, a seven-stage motor-driven compressor located inside the tunnel loop is used. Surrounding the test section walls, a balance chamber is used to provide boundary layer control of the airflow in the test section through perforations in the test section walls. The tunnel can operate at speeds from 0 to Mach 0.1 and from Mach 0.26 to 2.0.

Boeing Quiet Experimental Validation Concept, QEV
Boeing Quiet Experimental Validation Concept (QEVC) performance model.

The facility operates either in an aerodynamic closed-loop cycle, testing aerodynamic performance models, or in a propulsion open-loop cycle that tests live fuel burning engines and models. In the propulsion cycle, the tunnel operates by continuously drawing outside air through an air dryer and exhausting it back into the outside environment after it exits an acoustic muffler. This cycle is critical for models that introduce contaminants into the air or use potentially explosive gas mixtures. No exhaust scoop is required in this cycle.

To maximize data quality and minimize operational costs, the facility is controlled and monitored by a digital distributed control system. Steady-state data is collected from model instrumentation, processed and displayed real-time in engineering and graphical formats at an update rate of once-per-second. Transient data with sampling rates of 2 MHz/sec and an optical instrumentation suite of capabilities are available. To increase test productivity, a test matrix sequencer automatically changes model variables by using a pre-programmed test matrix. Real time transfer and display of all test data and information can be provided to customer locations outside of NASA Glenn.

NASA High Speed project propulsion model
NASA High Speed project propulsion model mounted inverted in the 8- by 6-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel (8×6).

Model supports available in the facility include a ceiling and floor strut for both supersonic and transonic test sections and a wall mount for large or half-span models.

Specialized support systems include:

Quick Facts

The 8×6 is an atmospheric tunnel with perforated stainless steel walls that provide boundary layer control during transonic operations. It is the only transonic propulsion wind tunnel at NASA. Aircraft such as the Advanced Turboprop, the National Aerospace Plane, the Advanced Tactical Fighter, the Joint Strike Fighter and the High Speed Civil Transport have been tested in this facility.

Mach number: 0 – 0.1 and 0.26 – 2.0
Test section: 8-ft high by 6-ft wide by 23.5-ft long
Reynolds number: 1.5 – 5.5 x 106/ft
Dynamic pressure: 100 – 1340 psf
Stagnation pressure: 14 – 25 psia
Temperature: 520°R – 700°R

Capabilities

The 8×6 SWT provides customers with a facility capable of testing large scale aero-propulsion hardware.

Characteristics and Performance

Tunnel Support Systems

Model Support Systems

Model Data and Control System Capabilities

Pressure Systems
The 8×6 electronically scanned pressure system consists of numerous 32 or 64 port miniaturized pressure scanner modules. Multiple measurement ranges are available to accommodate various needs. These can be located outside of the test chamber or within the test article. Each module has a check pressure to ensure correct performance. In-situ calibration performed via high accuracy standards

Steady State Data System
COBRA (Collect Observe Broadcast Record and Analyze) is NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC)’s standardized low speed (under 1000 samples per second per channel) data system. The system uses commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware and operating systems coupled with specialized data acquisition and application hardware/software modules.   It has a flexible and scalable design that utilizes a distributed network architecture approach. This design allows the attachment of measurement devices from a wide range of vendors.  This approach allows the system to evolve over time, permits the latest technology to be used that meets NASA GRC’s measurement requirements, and provides the environment for the best measurement methods to be applied.

Dynamic Data System
The dynamic data systems provide muti-channel high speed digitized acquisition of rapidly changing cyclic or non-periodic impulse type events. The system consists of:

Flow Visualization

Test Article Controls

Contact

8×6 Supersonic Wind Tunnel (8×6)
Facility Manager: David Stark
216-433-2922
David.E.Stark@nasa.gov

Testing Division
21000 Brookpark Rd., MS 6-8
Cleveland, Ohio 44135
216-433-8301
William.P.Camperchioli@nasa.gov

If you are unsure about whom to contact about a specific facility question, please call our main number at 216-433-4000.

Using Our Facilities

NASA’s Glenn Research Center provides ground test facilities to industry, government, and academia. If you are considering testing in one of our facilities or would like further information about a specific facility or capability, please let us know.

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