A Study of Aerodynamics in Kevlar-Wall Test Sections

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Virginia Tech

This study is undertaken to characterize the aerodynamic behavior of Kevlar-wall test sections and specifically those containing two-dimensional, lifting models. The performance of the Kevlar-wall test section can be evaluated against the standard of the hard-wall test section, which in the case of the Stability Wind Tunnel (SWT) at Virginia Tech can be alternately installed or replaced by the Kevlar-wall test section. As a first step towards the evaluation of the Kevlar-wall test section aerodynamics, a validation of the hard-wall test section at the SWT is performed, in part by comparing data from NACA 0012 airfoil sections tested at the SWT with those tested at several other reliable facilities. The hard-wall test section showing good merit, back-to-back tests with three different airfoils are carried out in the SWT's hard-wall and Kevlar-wall test sections. Kevlar-wall data is corrected for wall interference with a panel method simulation that simulates the unique boundary conditions of Kevlar-wall test sections including the Kevlar porosity, wall deflection, and presence of the anechoic chambers on either side of the walls. Novel measurements of the boundary conditions are made during the Kevlar-wall tests to validate the panel method simulation. Finally, sensitivity studies on the input parameters of the panel method simulation are conducted. The work included in this study encompasses a wide range of issues related to Kevlar-wall as well as hard-wall tunnels and brings to light many details of the performance of such test sections.

aerodynamics, wind tunnel, anechoic, Kevlar-wall, hard-wall, lift interference, blockage, porosity, panel method