Wind tunnel calibration

Wind tunnel calibration

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Wind tunnel calibration. Laser (green light) being used to measure and calibrate wind speeds inside a wind tunnel (not seen). This part of the equipment is the laser interferometer, where mirrors split and recombine the laser light. Small differences in the distance travelled by the laser light can be detected in this way. In this case, the laser light reflects off dust in the wind tunnel, and so the speed of the wind can be calculated. This sort of wind tunnel uses small (only a few centimetres long) models of aircraft. The results are scaled up (extrapolated) to replicate flight conditions. The equipment seen here is at CIRA, the Italian aerospace research centre in Padua, Italy. CIRA was founded in 1984.

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