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8'x6' Supersonic Wind Tunnel
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The 8- by 6-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel is a world-class test facility that provides researchers the opportunity to explore the subsonic, transonic and supersonic speed range.


Lockheed model installed in the 8x6 C-2012-4436: Scale model installed in the 8x6

The 8’ x 6’ Supersonic Wind Tunnel 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
The 8- by 6-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel (8x6) 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 60 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 flexed in and out. To create the tunnel airflow that is able to reach speeds up to Mach 2.0, a seven-stage motor-driven compressor located inside the tunnel 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 very low speeds from 0 to Mach 0.1 and from Mach 0.25 to 2.0.

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. 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.

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

Specialized support systems include:
  • High-pressure air
  • Altitude exhaust
  • Cooling water
  • Hydraulics
  • Gaseous hydrogen
  • Schlieren and advanced optical imagery (sheet lasers, PSP, TSP)
  • Variety of available research test hardware

For further technical information about the facility, please refer to the capabilities page within this site.

 
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Facility Fact Sheets
Wind Tunnels at Glenn
Glenn Research Center has six unique world-class wind tunnel.
+ View the fact sheet (PDF)
8'x6' Supersonic Wind Tunnel (8x6)
Explore subsonic, transonic, and supersonic speeds.
+ View the fact sheet (PDF)
10'x10' Supersonic Wind Tunnel (10x10)
The largest and fastest wind tunnel at NASA Glenn
+ View the fact sheet (PDF)
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Last Updated: October 18, 2012