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Flow Physics Facilities

Probe Calibration Laboratory (CE-12)

Facility Description and Overview

CE-12 is a 3.5-inch diameter free jet facility, which is primarily used to characterize the performance of various types of flow-sensing instrumentation such as flow angle, hot-wires, and total temperature probes. The facility has also been used for small-scale research projects.

The facility is supplied by 40-psig combustion air. Prior to entering the 29.2-inch-diameter (I.D.) plenum chamber, containing multiple flow straightening and turbulence reduction devices, the flow passes through a 1-micron filter, is throttled to the desired mass flow rate by 1.5-inch- and 6-inch-diameter parallel control valves, and can be heated by an immersion heater capable of raising the flow temperature to 200°F. The flow then passes through a 70:1 contraction ratio and exits through a 3.5-inch-diameter nozzle. A 125-psig service air line is also present in the facility, however, it is primarily used for the operation of facility control valves and instrumentation.

CE-12 is equipped with the standard NASA Glenn Probe Actuator and Control System (PACS). This control system interfaces with the facility data acquisition system to allow data to be obtained automatically at a predefined schedule of probe positions, angles, time intervals, etc. Various probe alignment and actuator systems are available for use, including a pitch-yaw table which allows a probe tip to be positioned at the centerline of the free jet while varying the probe’s orientation.

Operating Envelope
Mach Number, M 0.05 to 0.90
Static Pressure, Ps Barometric pressure
Total Temperature, TT Ambient to 200°F

Facility Data Acquisition and Instrumentation

CE-12 is equipped with the standard NASA Glenn COBRA (Collect, Observe, Broadcast, Record, and Analyze) data acquisition system and the Netscanner pressure measurement system for acquiring pressure data. All data collected with COBRA is sampled at 12.5 Hz. There are two (2) 5- and two (2) 15-psid pressure scanning modules available with sixteen (16) channels per module. The Netscanner and PACS systems are interfaced with the COBRA data acquisition system. CE-12 can accommodate twelve (12) of each of the following thermocouple types: E, K, and T.

CE-12 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
Netscanner 32 Ports of ± 5 PSID

32 Ports of ± 15 PSID Barometric Reference

COBRA 160 channels ± 10V
Thermocouples 12 Type E

12 Type K

12 Type T

Other Information Test cell wired with laser interlocks and power

Advanced Nozzle Test Facility (CE-22)

CE-22 is used to test and develop advanced nozzle concepts. Testing examples include verification of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and measurement of scaled nozzle performance. Customer models are installed in the test chamber, which is supplied by combustion air and altitude exhaust. The chamber separates to allow access to the model. Primary air enters the tank axially and passes through a bellmouth flow measuring section; secondary air enters through two ports in the top of the tank. The facility can provide primary combustion air at 40 psig and secondary air at 40, 125, or 450 psig. The 40 psig primary air and the secondary air can be heated up to 370 and 250°F respectively. The test chamber can simulate altitude conditions from atmospheric up to 48,000 ft.

CE-22 Special Features

The facility’s six component thrust stand has a 3000 lb limit in the axial direction and 1000 lb limits in the vertical and lateral directions. An ESCORT D data acquisition system is interfaced with an electronically scanning pressure (ESP) system to acquire and record steady-state data. Dynamic data is recorded with a Dewetron system at a maximum sampling rate of 200,000 per second. In addition to quantitative measurements, a rainbow Schlieren system and other flow visualization techniques are available for qualitative airflow analysis.  A remotely operated camera system can record testing footage. The test facility and control room can support secure testing.

CE-22 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating Values
Inlet air: primary flow 40 lb/s at 40 psig at 370oF
Inlet air: secondary flow 21 lb/s at 40 psig, amb temp

2 lb/s at 125 psig at 250oF

8 lb/s at 450 psig at 250oF

Exhaust atm to 20 to 26 in. hg vacuum
Model size limit 8.75 in. inside dia, 5 ft long
CE-22 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 64 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
384 Ports of +/- 45 PSID
32 Ports of +/- 500 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 200 Channels of which 138 are available for the test article
Thermocouples 96 Type K

20 by 30 inch Low Speed Wind Tunnel (CW-13)

This test rig is self-contained and does not require central air services. The tunnel is used to study flow separation and its control over various model shapes, and to investigate 2-D shear layer flow fields. The tunnel draws air through a large rectangular bellmouth connected to an 80-in.-long test section. Downstream of the test section is a variable-speed, 10-hp motor that drives the air through the tunnel. The test section velocity can be varied from 0 to 15 m/s by controlling the speed of the tunnel drive motor.

CW-13 Special Features

The test section floor has a slot down the middle to allow insertion of probes. A sidewall and roof of the test section are made of Plexiglas to allow flow visualization consisting of a smoke wire used in conjunction with high-speed photography. A 20-in.-long spacer section upstream of the test section has bearings mounted in the walls to allow installation of airfoils.

In addition, CW-13 has a small jet facility that is now capable of producing heated jets at low Mach numbers with temperatures up to about 250 deg F. Without heating, this facility can provide supersonic jets up to a Mach number of about 1.5.

CW-13 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating Values
Test section size 20 by 30 in.
Test section velocity 0 to 15 m/s
Drive motor 10 hp, variable speed
CW-13 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
Escort No
Laser PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry)
Rayleigh Scattering
Other Information National Instruments LabVIEW, Hot Wire Anemometry, Automated Pressure Probe System, Setra pressure measurement instrumentation

Free Jet Facility (CW-17)

This facility is used to conduct experiments to develop fundamental understanding of the jet mixing process and to increase jet mixing efficiency. The mixing process between a jet and surrounding airflow can be enhanced through use of aerodynamic excitation. CW-17 consists of a plenum chamber, excitation spool piece, and a nozzle. The 30-in diameter by 5-ft long plenum is supplied with 125-psig combustion air. Each of several supply lines are controlled to automatically set and maintain thedesired plenum pressure. Using adaptor pieces, various nozzles can be mounted off the plenum chamber. A swirl generator section can also be installed as part of the plenum.

CW-17 Special Features

A microphone array can be mounted at the nozzle exit to determine the output of the acoustic signal. Pitot tubes, hot wire probes, and microphones can be mounted on an XYZ table in order to survey the flow field downstream of the exit nozzle. Labview based data acquisition system, laser anemometry, and Schlieren systems are also available.

In addition, CW-17 has a small jet facility that is used primarily for Rayleigh-scattering based measurements. A filtration system is in place for providing clean, filtered co-flow needed for such measurements.

CW-17 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating Values
Supply airflow, and pressure Maximum of about 5 lb/sec airflow at 70 psig
Inlet air temperature Primary air cold (although provision is there to heat the flow up to about 150 deg F with a 250 W heater (currently disabled)
Altitude exhaust None (supply is there, but system is currently disabled, and will require major rework)
CW-17 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP None
Escort No
Laser Rayleigh Scattering
Other Information National Instruments LabVIEW, Hot Wire Anemometry, Automated Pressure Probe, System Microphones

Internal Fluid Mechanics Facility (W-1B)

Studies conducted in W-1B assist in the developing of CFD methods to aid in design and analysis of aircraft propulsion components and systems. The source of air in W-1B originates in the test cell entering the rig through a conical screen or it flows through a pressurized inlet tied to the 40-psig central system, providing higher Reynolds number test capability. Inlet air is drawn into an eight-foot diameter plenum tank to condition the air entering the test section. A system can provide desired levels to turbulence, flow angularity and boundary layer profile, as well as, create swirlflow conditions. The tunnel flow is regulated from 0 to 4 pps and 4 to 25 pps by a 4″ valve and 12″ valve, respectively and has a si channel blowing/bleeding system. Both valves are equipped with electronic controllers. The air is driven through the facility by the sub-atmospheric (altitude) exhaust.

W-1B Special Features

Detailed measurements of total and static pressure and three components of velocity are typically taken at nearly 2000 locations from the inlet to the exit of the diffuser. Also, surface flow patterns are photographed by using a fluorescent-oil dye and an ultraviolet light for illumination. Data acquisition is handled through electronically scanned pressure (ESP) and probe actuator control (PAC) systems linked to an Escort processing system.

W-1B Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating Values
Inlet air pressure atm or 40 psig
Inlet airflow 20 lb/s
Inlet air temperature amb
Altitude exhaust 20 to 26 in. hg vac
W-1B System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 320 Ports of +/- 15 PSID320 Ports of +/- 5 PSID32 Ports of +/- 30 PSID Barometric Ref
Escort 256 Channels250 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 36 Type E

15 by 15 Centimeter Supersonic Wind Tunnel (W-6B)

Facility Description and Overview

The 225 cm2 Supersonic Wind Tunnel is a facility located in the Engine Research Building (ERB) at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This continuous flow facility is used to study fundamental flow physics and serve as a test bed for instrumentation.

The facility is supplied by 40 psig combustion air. Prior to entering the plenum chamber, containing multiple flow straightening and turbulence reduction devices, the flow passes through a 1 micron filter, is throttled to the desired Reynolds number by an automated control valve. A facility heater can be used to maintain a constant temperature, slightly above ambient (typically about 100°F). From the plenum chamber, the flow then passes through an ASME bellmouth and interchangeable fixed-geometry converging-diverging nozzle block leading into the test section. Two nozzle/test section geometries, axisymmetric (17 cm diameter) and square (15 x 15 cm), are available. The nozzle blocks currently available allow for operation up to Mach 3 but the facility is capable of supporting operation up to Mach 4. The tunnel can also operate at subsonic flows from Mach 0.25 to 0.85. A 125 psig service air supply line is also available for use in the facility.

A number of specialized support systems are available to meet the research customer’s needs such as model hydraulics and probe actuation systems. The facility also has qualitative and quantitative flow visualization capabilities such as Schlieren imaging system, particle image velocimetry (PIV), pressure sensitive paint, surface oil flow, and trace gas detection.


Tunnel Characteristics and Performance
Mach Number (Square) <1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3
Mach Number (Axisymmetric) 2.5
Total Temperature Ambient – 110°F
Maximum Pressure 48 psia
Maximum Flow Rate 13 lbs/sec

Flow Visualization/Measurement

Support Systems

Research Instrumentation and Data Systems

Netscanner is an electrically scanned pressure system, which contains hundreds of pressure transducers. The system consists of numerous 16-port, rack-mounted ±15 psid modules, with 224 total channels available. Each module can be calibrated in place using highly accurate calibration pressures to maintain the overall system accuracy of ±0.05 percent of full scale range. These pressures are then digitized and recorded into our Escort data system.

Escort is a steady state data acquisition system which provides:

Escort can stand alone to meet all secure test requirements or can be connected to a central processing network.  When connected to the network, the program can be accessed and maintained remotely which facilitates software application development, downloading of software, uploading and storage of facility files, post processing and transmitting of data to a data collector for archival storage. Escort provides the following:

Dynamic Data System

The Dewetron data system provides multi-channel high speed digitized acquisition of rapidly changing cyclic or non-periodic impulse type events. The system consists of:


Engine Research Building (ERB)
Facility Manager: Gwynn Severt

Test Facility Management Branch
Branch Chief: Michael S. McVetta

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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