A new method of testing in wind tunnels

W. Margoulis
naca-tn-52
Aug 1921


Now, in existing wind tunnels, using a horsepower of 100 to 300, the models are generally made to a 1/10 scale and the speed is appreciably lower than the speeds currently attained by airplanes. The Reynolds number realized is thus 15 to 25 times smaller than that reached by airplanes in free flight, while the ratio of speed to the velocity of sound is between a third and three quarters of the true ratio. The necessary increases in either the diameter of the wind tunnel or the velocity of the airstream are too costly. However, the author shows that it is possible to have wind tunnels in which the Reynolds number will be greater than that now obtained by airplanes, and in which the ratio of the velocity to the velocity of sound will also be greater than that realized in practice, by employing a gas other than air, at a pressure and temperature different from those of the surrounding atmosphere. The gas is carbonic acid, a gas having a low coefficient of viscosity, high density, and a low ratio of specific heat. The positive results of using carbonic acid in wind tunnel tests are given.

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