Wind Tunnel

Wind Tunnels

Low-Speed, Low-Turbulence Subsonic Wind Tunnel

The Low-Speed, Low-Turbulence Wind Tunnel is a closed-throat, single-return, atmospheric tunnel. The test section is 39.9 in. (101.3 cm) high by 58.1 in. (147.6 cm) wide. Electrically actuated turntables provide positioning and attachment for the two-dimensional models, while a six-component strain-gage balance facilitates the mounting and measurement on three-dimensional models. The turbulence intensity in the test section is approximately 0.05 percent at 150 ft/sec (46 m/s). Its outstanding flow quality and data-acquisition system allows one to obtain high-quality, reliable aerodynamic data on airfoils, aircraft, wind turbines, and so forth.

Key Faculty:: Mark Maughmer

Tunnel Features:

  • Closed-return tunnel: 75' x 25' (24m x 8m)
  • Closed-throat test section: 3.25' x 5' (0.99m x 1.52m)
  • Speeds: up to 200 feet per second (64 m/s)
  • Low turbulence intensity: <0.045%
  • Reynolds-number range: <50,000−3x106

Boundary Layer Tunnel

Our Boundary Layer Tunnel is heavily used in our undergraduate- and graduate-level laboratory courses. General experiments related to the occasional student project, and small research grants, are also performed in this tunnel.

Some of our previous research involves boundary layer measurements, general 2D and 3D airfoil testing, drag measurements of long slender vehicles, protuberance drag studies, evaluations of rotorcraft whirl flutter, and most recently, micro-scale wind turbine development, testing and control.

Key Faculty: Rick Auhl

Tunnel Features:

  • Closed-return circuit: 110' x 14' x 10' ( 33.5m x 4.3 m x 3 m )
  • Closed-throat test section: 2' x 3' x 20' ( 0.6 m x 0.9 m x 6 m)
  • Wind Speeds: 0 to 150 fps (0 to 46 m/s)
  • Turbulence intensity: ~ 0.3%
  • Reynolds-number range: 50,000 to 150,000
  • Unusually long test section allows for boundary layer studies and long models.



The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569