National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

10×10 Wind Tunnel

Jim Roeder, a mechanical engineer, gave us a tour of the 10 by 10 foot supersonic wind tunnel. He first brought us to the control room and explained how the wind tunnel is operated. He explained that experiments in the tunnel are preformed during the 3rd shift (typically at 11:00pm). This is because at that time period the power company gives the facility a discount on their power usage and the fact that the tunnel consumes 200 megawatts of power.  Jim then brought us up to see the test section itself. At the time equipment was being set up in the test section. The equipment is meant for an experiment that is to be run in May. Jim explained a few of the capabilities of the test section and pointed out the large array of hydraulic actuators. This hydraulic system deflects a 1 3/8 inch steal wall into a nozzle to create the varying speed conditions needed in the test section. Later in the tour we were shown a sample of the thick steel wall and were impressed that it could be deformed at all. The test section of this wind tunnel can reach speeds between mach 2 and mach 3.5. It can simulate pressure conditions between 50,000 and 150,000 ft altitude. It can also run on an open or closed loop, making it the only supersonic wind tunnel of its size in the nation that can do propulsion testing.