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Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel 9-by 7-foot Supersonic Test Section
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The 9-by 7-foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel (9x7 SWT) facility is part of the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel (UPWT) complex at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, where generations of commercial and military aircraft and NASA space vehicles, including the space shuttle, have been designed and tested.

The 9x7 SWT is a closed-return, variable-density tunnel with an asymmetric, sliding-block nozzle. It is one of three separate test sections powered by a common drive system. Interchangeability of models among the UPWT test sections allows testing across a wide range of conditions. Airflow is generated by an 11-stage, axial-flow compressor powered by four variable-speed, wound-rotor induction motors.

The 9x7 SWT continues to provide aerodynamic data for NASA's manned spaceflight efforts whose goal it is to create the rockets and spacecraft necessary to take explorers to Earth orbit, the Moon, and eventually, to Mars.


Model of TBC-1 in 9x7 Wind Tunnel

Model of TBC-1 in 9-by 7-foot Wind Tunnel at NASA Ames. Image credit: NASA Ames Research Center


Adobe pdf logo  ATP 9-by 7-foot Brochure.pdf

Capability

  • Mach Range= 1.55 to 2.55

  • Rn= 0.50 to 5.7 million per foot

  • Pt= 2.8 to 29.5 psia

  • Maximum stagnation temperature = 600°R

  • Closed circuit, single return, variable density, continuous flow wind tunnel

  • Interchangeability of models between Unitary test sections allows testing across a wide range of conditions

  • Internal strain-gage sting mount, model component balances are used for measuring forces and moments. Ames and Langley inventories typically available

  • Full support of DTC PSI Module capability

  • Fully automated control of tunnel conditions and simultaneously variable pitch and yaw positions

  • Capability for measuring multiple fluctuating pressures

  • There are two controllable 3000 psi auxiliary air systems capable of flow rates up to 40 lb/sec each. One line can be controlled up to 80°F and the other up to 400°F

  • Full data system support capability included (Unix system with extra X-terminals available)

  • Full internal and external network capability. PCs and Macs available to customers as needed

  • Typical two weeks of model build up and instrument preparation is included in the facility occupancy charge

Operating Characteristics

Operating Characteristics
Mach number (continuously variable) 1.55 to 2.50
Stagnation pressure 4.4 to 29.5 psia
Reynolds number 1.0 x 106 to 6.0 x 106 /ft
Maximum stagnation temperature 600°R

9x7 Wind Tunnel Performance Characteristics Chart

Click image to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Test Section Dimensions

Test Section Dimensions
Height 7.0 ft.
Width 9.0 ft.
Length 18.0 ft.
Access Hatches, Removable Ceiling Panel: 6.0 x 9.0 ft.
Side doors: 3.0 x 6.5 ft.
*Total test section length = 18 ft. Effective (useable) Length = 11 ft.



 


 


 

9x7 Supersonic Wind Tunnel Test Section Dimensions Plan View
Click image to enlarge

 

Test Section Dimensions Plan View AutoCAD Files:

 

AutoCAD logo  Version 2000i AutoCAD file (.dwg)

Translation files:

Drawing Exchange File logo  Version 2000 Drawing Exchange file (.dxf)

Initial Graphics Exchange Specification File logo  Initial Graphics Exchange Specification file (.igs)
 

*Note: Right Click (PC) / Control Click (Mac) and "Save As..." to Download Files. To Open, use "Import" function in drawing program.

Free Drawing Viewer from AutoDesk (a free, downloadable application that lets you view and print basic design drawing formats; Windows OS only)

Free Drawing Viewer from eDrawings (a free, downloadable application that lets you view and print basic design drawing formats; Windows and Mac)


Test Section Dimensions Elevation View AutoCAD Files:

9x7 Ft. test section dimensions elevation view drawing
Click image to enlarge

AutoCAD logo  Version 2000i AutoCAD file (.dwg)

Translation files:

Drawing Exchange File logo  Version 2000 Drawing Exchange file (.dxf)

Initial Graphics Exchange Specification File logo  Initial Graphics Exchange Specification file (.igs)



*Note: Right Click (PC) / Control Click (Mac) and "Save As..." to Download Files. To Open, use "Import" function in drawing program.

Free Drawing Viewer from AutoDesk (a free, downloadable application that lets you view and print basic design drawing formats; Windows OS only)

Free Drawing Viewer from eDrawings (a free, downloadable application that lets you view and print basic design drawing formats; Windows and Mac)


Model Installation Diagram

Model installation is normally accomplished through a 3x6.5 foot door in the north wall of the diffuser. Model/sting assemblies can quickly be brought into the test section via a removable ceiling track. Under special circumstances the model may be installed through the 6x9 foot ceiling panel. The model installation is presented in the image below.


9x7 Supersonic Wind Tunnel model installation

*Click image to enlarge


Model Support System

A traversing strut downstream of the test section can be programmed to translate horizontally to maintain a desired point of rotation throughout the horizontal-plane angle-range, generally angle-of-attack.

The center of rotation in the vertical plane is 5.3 inches aft of the strut leading edge. The horizontal and vertical plane angles are continuously variable and are determined by the relative positions of a knuckle and sleeve inside the support body. The model support system can position the model at attitudes circumscribed by a 15-degree half-angle cone.

Bent primary adapters of 5, 10, 12.5, and 20 degrees are available to alter the range of model angles.

Numerous stings of differing lengths and taper arrangements are also in inventory.



Forces and Moments

Forces and moments about the model support center of rotation in the tunnel axis are limited to:


Forces and Moments
Vertical ± 4,000 lbs
Lateral ± 8,000 lbs
Axial ± 3,000 lbs
Rolling Moment ± 104,000 in-lbs
Combined Vertical and Lateral Bending Moment ± 800,000 in-lbs


Flow Visualization

Flow visualization techniques such as Schlieren, Pressure Sensitive Paint, Oil Flow, Tufts, Sublimation, Skin Friction Interferometry, and Liquid Crystal can be obtained by appropriately positioning 2.35-foot diameter optical-quality windows in the test section sidewalls. Still and color video capability are provided.

 

High-Pressure Air

High-pressure air (3,000 psi) is available at weight flows up to a total of 80 pounds per second through dual, independently controlled digital valves. Air from one of these lines can be preheated using a one megawatt moveable heater.

 

Reflected Shock Waves

Shock waves reflecting on the model from the solid test section walls will have a detrimental effect on the model forces and pressures and must be avoided. When determining appropriate model size and attitude, calculate the shock rhombus by assuming reflections at the Mach angle from a 4-inch thick wall boundary layer.

 

Starting Loads

The design of models to be tested in the 9-by 7-foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel must allow for additional critical conditions associated with blockage (the ratio of model-projected frontal area to test section cross-sectional area) and transient starting loads. Large model blockages provide a potential to "unstart" the airflow, allowing a strong shock wave to pass through the test section resulting in possible damage to the model, sting and balance. The ratio of model wing span to tunnel width for minimum supersonic performance verification interference should not significantly exceed 0.5. The maximum recommended ratio of model cross-sectional area to test section cross-sectional area is about 0.010 (model at 0° angle of attack).

Normal procedure is to reduce the tunnel pressure and position the model for minimum loads before beginning the acceleration to, or deceleration from, supersonic conditions.

However, significant transient loads are still generated by the swirling, subsonic, separated flows preceding the establishment of sonic velocity in the upstream throat. To ensure that a model, sting and balance will withstand these transients, they must be designed to withstand the empirically derived starting loads indicated in the following charts.

 


Starting Loads
Model Orientation Model and Sting
Loads, lb/ft2
Individual Balance Gauge Loads, lb/ft2
Winged Models Body Alone Winged Models Body Alone
Vertical Primary Lifting Surfaces:
Side Force
(Vertical Direction)
300 200 375 200
Normal Force
(Horizontal Direction)
175 150 210 150
Horizontal Primary Lifting Surfaces:
Side Force
(Horizontal Direction)
75 150 90 150
Normal Force
(Vertical Direction)
200 200 280 200


 

9-by 7-foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel Load Locations are presented in the drawing below.


9x7 Supersonic Wind Tunnel Load Locations

*Click image to enlarge


 

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Page Last Updated: February 13th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator