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Services & Rates

Effective October 1, 2021


UWAL hosts subsonic wind tunnel testing at the Kirsten Wind Tunnel for customers outside the university. UWAL is self-sustaining as the revenue it receives from its commercial customers covers all costs of operation, builds a reserve for medium term capital expenditures, and includes the 15.6% UW Institutional Overhead (for use of university utilities, groundskeeping, and other shared costs). This rate guide describes the most common services UWAL provides for its customers at the Kirsten Wind Tunnel. UWAL also has access to other facilities and is capable of providing additional services. Please contact us if you have special testing requirements.

Rates for the Kirsten Wind Tunnel (8' by 12'):

Service or Item
Regular Occupancy (minimum: 9 hours/day)
Overtime Occupancy
Idle-Time Day
Electronic Pressure Scanning
Internal Force/Torque Balance
High Pressure Air Supply
DC Power Supply (40kW)
Engineering Pre-Test Services
Formal Test Report
Pass-through costs
KWT cost plus sales tax (10.1%)
KWT cost


Example of a cost estimate

This example cost estimate is for a customer interested in conducting a wind tunnel test of an aircraft. Electronic Pressure Scanning (EPS) data will be collected during some of the runs in addition to standard force and moment data. The proposed test matrix totals 150 wind-on runs (each run is a set of test points where only one parameter is varied, such as the angle of attack or sideslip.) The test matrix also calls for 30 model configuration changes. The customer wants a test report and for UWAL to supply trip dots.

Installation Time: 6 hours

Actual model installation times vary quite a bit depending on model complexity and the model manufacturer’s familiarity with our model support systems. Sometimes it’s as short as 2 hours, other times it’s 2 days. For this example, 6 hours is used as a rough estimate.

Wind-On Time For Data Runs: 18.5 hours

Assumes an average wind-on time of 7-8 minutes per run, including ramp up and ramp down. Run durations depend on number of test points and how much time EPS zeroes /cals add to data acquisition. Runs typically last 4-10 minutes at UWAL.

Wind-On Time For Flow-Viz Runs: 2 hours

The time needed for Flow-Viz varies greatly. Smoke flow takes 30-60 minutes to set up, China Clay requires time for clean up, Mini-Tuft runs take about 60 seconds per test point for the photography, etc., etc.

Model Change Time: 10 hours

Assumes model changes take 18 minutes on average. Note that some model changes may take several hours.

Tunnel Checkout and Daily Calibrations: 3.5 hours

There are a few daily tasks that wind tunnel personnel have to take care of, such as running a Bal Cal twice per day, checking the tunnel circuits, and inspecting fan blades. Much of this occurs while customers are working on their models, but even so, plan on about 45 minutes per day for these tasks. They are considered part of Occupancy.

Contingency Time: 2 hours

If a test plan is so tight that it cannot include a couple of contingency hours, then consider contracting for longer shifts or more days..

Model Removal: 4 hours

Total Time Required: 45 hours (or 5 days at 9 hours/day)

Tunnel Rental: $35,100 (45 Occupancy hours at $780/hour)
Electronic Pressure Scanning: $2,500
Trip dots: 20 ft at $18/ft (including sales tax) = $360
Test Report: $400

Total: $38,360