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Imperial College London

Imperial’s Patel Supersonic Wind Tunnel has a test Mach number range of 0.5 –> 5, achievable at variable Reynolds number (2-20 million per m). The tunnel has a square test section measuring 0.15 x 0.15 x up to 2 m in length, and can accommodate (blunt or slender) axisymmetric models up to 40 mm in diameter. The facility is part of the UK’s NWTF and benefits from an extensive array of instrumentation hardware. Measurement capabilities include velocity from PIV, heat transfer from IRT, surface deformation from photogrammetry, and pressure from PSP. The tunnel operates in a combined blow-down/suck-down arrangement: typical run times are of the order of 10 s, and can be performed at a high repetition rate of up to 30 tests per day. ​

Test Section 1 size:
0.15 x 0.15 x 2 m (max)
20:1 contraction ratio
Operational Status:
Under construction, due for commissioning in 2021.
Test support:
Fully equipped workshop for wind tunnel model design, CNC 4-axis mill, CNC 3-axis mill, CNC Lathe, CNC etching and cutting, a range of rapid prototyping manufacture and modification capability, 3D CAD support and drafting.
Intermittent hybrid blow-down / suck-down arrangement.
Mach Number: 0.6 - 3

Maximum Flow Speed: 600 ms¯¹
Reynolds No: 2-20 x 10⁶ m¯¹(variable)
Total Pressure: 1 x 10⁵Pa (max, variable)
Pressure: ~ 1 x 10⁵Pa (max, variable)
Temperature: 290K
Turbulence intensity: 1% (estimated, tbc)
Run Time: 10 s
Typical Recharge Time: 20 min
Testing Capabilities:
Data Acquisition: National Instruments (LabVIEW) PID tunnel controller and DAQ system
Outputs: 32 channel low speed (500 Hz) pressure, 8 channel high speed (50 kHz+) pressure, pressure sensitive paint, high speed schlieren, surface oil-flow and integrated seeding system for LDA and PIV.
Specialist Rigs:
Seeding: Integrated, adjustable seeding system for solid (TiO2) & liquid droplet (Oil) flow seeding
Adaptive flow control: Computer-controlled deployment of variable geometry (active) flow control devices (e.g. shock control bumps using multiple actuators using LabVIEW)
Unsteadiness: Mechanism for generating unsteady pressure pulses upstream and downstream of test section (amplitude: 1-5 % p0, frequency range 10 Hz – 10 kHz)
Gas injection: Test section module for moderate flow rate injection of various (Air, He, CO2, tbc) configurable (e.g. for scramjet fuel mixing studies)
3-c LDA System Dantec
Traverse system Micromech
High Speed Camera for Schlieren Dantec
Optics (high quality) Low FPS Video Camera / Lenses / Mirrors / rails /mounts / HDRecorder
High-speed laser PIV Aerotech/Flow Dynamics
Laser 3rd / 4th Harmonic capable Nd:YAG (to produce 266nm / 355 nm light for fluorescence measurements, e.g. molecular tagging / scalar measurements etc.) Dantec
Low Noise Camera for fluorescence type measurements Dantec/Vision Research
Intensified Camera for low photon measurements Dantec/Vision Research