A brief history of wind tunnels


Wind tunnels were developed during the late 1800's when it was recognized that outside conditions were too uncertain to plan and execute the testing required to aid in man's quest to fly.


"In trying experiments on wind mill sails the wind itself is too uncertain to answer the purpose; we must have recourse to an artificial wind."

From John Smeaton’s paper, read before the Royal Society of ???? 1759.


What began as a basic tool for investigating aerodynamics has developed into a vital piece of equipment for developing and refining a wide range of a basic scientific knowledge and consumer products.


Wind tunnel testing applies to all industries -- everything from aircraft, automobiles, computer chips, gas fireplaces and bicycles to the evaporation of common household cleaners.


Over five decades of experience in designing and building experimental facilities has allowed us to catalog an extensive library of arrangements that can be applied to new situations. Our goal is to provide you with a fully functional test section that can be used immediately after the wind tunnel is installed.


We design and fabricate wind tunnels of every imaginable configuration, including:


  • Standard sized units that you can choose from or modify to fit your research, experiment, educational and demonstration needs.
  • Open circuit and re-circulating configurations of many different flow rates and cross sectional test areas

The test section is the most important part of any wind tunnel because it’s the area where all of the work is performed. The remainder of the tunnel is, in essence, a set of well designed HVAC ducts guiding the airstream to this one critical area.


The test section can be supplied with as much access as is required by the testing.


  • The test section available with our standard designs incorporates a removable ceiling secured with quick release fasteners.
  • If desired, the floor can also be removable, or the arrangement can be rotated 90°, enabling one or both sidewalls to be removable.
  • A limited number of ports (up to 15.2cm [6"]) in diameter is standard.
  • Up to 30.5cm (12" can be supplied) can be machined in any of the test section surfaces.
  • Flanged Plexiglas plugs close the ports during operation.


Look into our instrumentation section to view many of the standard options offered.

Custom features we have developed include:


  • Diverging ceiling and floor panels or sidewalls to account for the boundary layer growth through the test section.
  • Hinged windows supported by gas springs for easy access to the model under test.
  • Recessed panels for customer test jigs.
  • Removable floor section(s) for inserting floor strut balances.
  • Two dimensional (either X-Y or Y-Z) or three dimensional traversing systems arranged for manual or stepper motor control, plus offset false surfaces for boundary layer work.
  • Boundary layer suction on any combination of surfaces.


If your projects include either LDA or PIV work and the refraction angle or the non-flatness of the Plexiglas® surfaces introduces undesired optical effects, we can incorporate optical-quality flat glass into an appropriate side of the test section.


Our commitment is to design a system that meets your testing needs.