Water Facilities in Retrospect and Prospect--An Illuminating Tool for Vehicle Design,
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION MOFFETT FIELD CA AMES RESEARCH CENTER
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Water facilities play a fundamental role in the design of air, ground, and marine vehicles by providing a qualitative, and sometimes quantitative, description of complex flow phenomena. Water tunnels, channels, and tow tanks used as flow-diagnostic tools have experienced a renaissance in recent years in response to the increased complexity of designs suitable for advanced technology vehicles. These vehicles are frequently characterized by large regions of steady and unsteady three-dimensional flow separation and ensuing vortical flows. The visualization and interpretation of the complicated fluid motions about isolated vehicle components and complete configurations in a time- and cost-effective manner in hydrodynamic test facilities is a key element in the development of flow control concepts and, hence, improved vehicle designs. This paper presents a historical perspective of the role of water facilities in the vehicle design process. The application of water facilities to specific aerodynamic and hydrodynamic flow problems is discussed, and the strengths and limitations of these important experimental tools are emphasized.
- Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods
- Fluid Mechanics