3 m x 6 m icing wind tunnel

Contact us

To discuss your project or find out more about how we can support your business, contact:

Dean Flanagan
Telephone: 613-990-8319
Email: Dean.Flanagan@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Targeted industries

Aerospace, Automotive and surface transportation, Construction, Marine.


The 3 m x 6 m icing wind tunnel bridges the gap between a conventional wind tunnel and an engine test cell. The wind tunnel has several unique features which lend themselves to a variety of applications.

Launch and recovery operations of ship-board helicopters

Launch and recovery operations of ship-board helicopters.

It is the only facility in the world that can accommodate full-scale, full-speed, cold temperature tests with fluids. The facility is also ideal for large-scale bluff-body aerodynamic investigations such as cable vibration studies.

The wind tunnel features an open circuit design meaning a naturally cold test section is available in the winter for icing research. This capability, combined with the working section height, results in the ability to simulate larger water droplets than most icing wind tunnels can support. Small cloud droplets and freezing drizzle can also be simulated.

The open-circuit layout, with fan at entry, permits contaminants associated with the test arrangements (such as heat, combustion products, wakes, jets, lost lubricants) to discharge directly, without re-circulating or contacting the fan. A drainage system in the diffuser collects and disposes of larger volumes of liquid contaminants, such as anti-icing fluids, in an environmentally responsible manner. The high solidity fan reduces unsteadiness due to atmospheric wind.

Image of Anti-Icing fluid with frozen precipitation during simulated take-off roll in wind tunnel.

Evaluating wing performance with anti-icing fluids.

Experiments on propulsion systems are facilitated by a connection to a compressor facility. Compressed air can be used to simulate jet effluxes or to drive turbine-powered fans, and to simulate intake suction characteristics

The facility is also ideal for large-scale bluff-body aerodynamic investigations such as cable vibration studies. The length of the wind tunnel's test section simulates natural winds using the NRC-developed spire technique. Several recent investigations have focused on characterizing the highly turbulent air wake in the vicinity of aviation-capable ships.

Technical specifications

Standard working section

  • Size: 6.1 m high x 3.1 m wide x 12.2 m long (20 ft. x 10 ft. x 40 ft.)
  • Max. velocity: 32 m/s on electric drive, 50 m/s on gas turbine drive

Reduced working section

  • Size: 4.9 m high x 3.1 m wide x 6.4 m long (16 ft. x 10 ft. x 21 ft.)(with insert)
  • Max. velocity: 44 m/s on electric drive, 65 m/s on gas turbine drive

Aerodynamic and thermal conditions

  • Velocity spatial uniformity variation < ±0.5%
  • Flow angularity < 1.5° in pitch and < 0.75° in yaw
  • Turbulence intensity < 0.75°
  • Air temperature dependent on outdoor weather conditions(icing conditions typically between December and March)

Data system and instrumentation

  • Software: TestSLATE test control and management system with test-specific applications using MATLAB® and LabVIEW™.
  • A/D channels: 24 & 16 bit systems @ 10 to 100 kHz, custom configurations
  • Pressure measurements: Up to 512 channel high-speed pressure scanning system (Scanivalve ZOC™) and multiple individual pressure sensors (Kulite®)
  • Various internal and external balances available
  • Model mounts: Side-wall pitch rig, floor turntable and custom mounts available
  • Videography: 2 roof-mounted and 1 floor-mounted camera for wide-angle views of models
  • Flow visualization: Particle Image Velocimetry, smoke, surface oil, tufts

Auxiliary services

  • Compressed air up to 14.5 kg/s at 700 kPa
  • Roof spray system for simulating ground freezing rain and freezing drizzle conditions.
  • Drainage system for liquids (water, de/anti-icing fluids, etc.)
Date modified: