Research

Design, Manufacturing, and Testing Facilities

The Aerospace Engineering & Research (AER) Labs support aerodynamic surveys and tests in two locations. The main facility is the Kirsten Wind Tunnel, a subsonic, closed circuit, double return wind tunnel. The tunnel has a test section with a rectangular 8' x 12' cross-section that is 10 feet long. The large test section allows many UAS to be tested at full scale (Figure 1). Two sets of 14' 9"-diameter seven-bladed propellers move the air up to 200 MPH through the test section. A computer-automated model positioning and data acquisition system ensures testing efficiency and precise measurements while a networked data reduction and plotting system allows for immediate data visibility. Most tests make use of KWT's six-component external balance. KWTalso supports high channel count Electronic Pressure Scanning (EPS) systems.

A smaller low speed 3’x3’ wind tunnel is also available for testing of smaller models (Figure 2).

Kirsten Wind Tunnel 3x3 Wind Tunnel
Figure 1: Test section of the Kirsten Wind Tunnel Figure 2: The low speed 3x3' Wind Tunnel

 

CoMotion MakerSpace

The CoMotion Makerspace provides tools, equipment, and lab space for prototyping and individual projects. Encouraging cross-disiplinary collaboration, non-specialized users are allowed access to the Makerspace without an extensive introductory course. Laser cutters, 3D Printers, soldering stations, sewing machines, and Arduino kits are available to UW students, staff, and faculty. The Makerspace contains five FlashForge Creator Pro 3D printers (Figure 3). Printing capabilities include a build envelope of 225 by 145 by 150 mm, compatibility with Windows, Mac, OS X, Linux, and uses PLA and ABS thermoplastics.

CoMotion MakerSpace
Figure 3: 3D Printers in the CoMotion MakerSpace

 

Computer Station Featuring Design and Simulation Programs

One of the primary facilities of the Autonomous Flight Systems Laboratory (AFSL) is various software and hardware systems for simulating and validating UAS algorithms and technologies in a laboratory environment. A computing station (Figure 4) has capabilities for performing simulation of aircraft dynamics, computer aided design, and analysis. CAD software including Simens NX 10.0 utilizes parametric and surface modeling, engineering analysis with Finite Element Analysis, and manufacturing assistance.