AER Facilities

3x3 Low-Speed Wind Tunnel

the wind tunnel

The 3x3 Low Speed Wind Tunnel is an open-loop facility capable of 135mph (60m/s) flows. It is housed within the historic Aerodynamics Laboratory that was built in 1917 to house the first wind tunnel in the northwest that was funded by donations from the Boeing Aircraft Company. The current wind tunnel is heavily used for undergraduate labs and projects in the winter and spring quarters and for research the remainder of the year.

Location: See map.

Tunnel Capabilities

  • Wind speeds: 15-60 m/s (34-135 mph)
  • Test Section: 3’x3’x8’
  • 9:1 contraction ratio

History

aerodynamics lab

In early 1917, William E. Boeing hired two University of Washington mechanical engineering students, Clairmont L. Egtvedt and Philip G. Johnson, for his budding aeronautics company. Though Egtvedt and Johnson eventually became two of the most influential figures in aviation history, Boeing quickly saw a need for a formal program in aeronautics.

Boeing realized that he needed not only trained aeronautical engineers, but also a facility to test new airplanes. He donated a wind tunnel to the University of Washington on the condition that the UW develop an aeronautics curriculum. Design and construction of the new wind tunnel started in late 1917.

The current 3x3 Low Speed Wind Tunnel is housed in the same historic building as Boeing’s original wind tunnel, long since replaced.