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China develops large transonic wind tunnel

01 October 2018
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A computer-generated image of a large-scale transonic wind tunnel developed by China that will simulate velocities between Mach 0.3 and Mach 1.6. Source: AVIC

China has developed a large-scale transonic wind tunnel that will be one of the most advanced in the world, according to information released on 25 September by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The continuous-loop wind tunnel will feature a test chamber capable of accommodating models up to 2.4×2.4 m in section and will simulate velocities between Mach 0.3 and Mach 1.6.

The project was approved in 2012 and is the largest single investment project approved by China’s National Defense Science and Technology Bureau, reflecting its status as a fundamental, strategic facility for the development of the country’s aviation industry.

The new facility has been built by AVIC’s Aerodynamics Research Institute (ARI) in Shenyang; AVIC ARI also has facilities located in Harbin. Shenyang is also the location of AVIC’s Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), which builds the Chinese derivatives of the Sukhoi Su-27/33 combat aircraft: the J-11, J-15, and J-16.

According to the information released by AVIC, the new test facility has a volume of 17,000 m3 , weighs 6,620 tons, and requires up to 80 MW of power. Designated the FL-62 wind tunnel, it has interchangeable test sections to meet a variety of test requirements and a bypass circuit that enables access to the model being tested without shutting down the compressor.

In addition to conventional wind-tunnel test measurements, special test capabilities relating to aero-elasticity, dynamic simulation, thrust vectoring, acoustics, and multibody interference and separation will be available.

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