Winds of change: Southampton to join national wind tunnel project
The University of Southampton is joining a new National Wind Tunnel Facility (NWTF) that will keep the UK at the forefront of aerodynamic and fluid mechanics research.
Three Southampton facilities will share in the £13.3 million funding for the NWTF, with £10.7 million coming from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and £2.6 million from the UK Aerodynamics Centre.
The NWTF consists of 17 different facilities, including three in Southampton, spread across seven universities throughout the UK. The Facility will support research addressing problems in many sectors but with a primary focus on aerospace research, a key contributor to the UK’s GDP. The facilities will be available for use by researchers and industry and will be able to simulate a wide variety of environments to build understanding of both low and high-speed conditions.
The funding for Southampton will provide an upgrade to the R. J. Mitchell wind tunnel, including a laser diagnostics kit, plus two new facilities, which are unique to the UK and Europe, at the University’s new Boldrewood campus – a 138m long towing tank and an anechoic wind tunnel.
Professor Bharath Ganapathisubramani from the University of Southampton says: “These three facilities, together with the other 14 in NWTF, form a complementary suite of facilities that can be used by researchers here at Southampton as well as researchers and industry from around the UK.”
The NWTF was announced by David Willetts, Minister for Science and Universities. Mr Willetts said: “This new investment will support research that is vital to the UK economy, including developing the next generation of fuel efficient heavy goods vehicles. This will create huge energy savings to businesses, as well as bringing environmental benefits. It is pioneering work that will help the UK get ahead in the global race.”