Purdue to build world's first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel

A $5.9 million contract awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory is helping Purdue build the world's first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 6:22 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 6:32 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A new high tech quiet wind tunnel is making its way to Purdue

It's thanks to a $5.9 million dollar contract awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory.

It will help researchers find new methods to be able to fly faster and further in the future.

"Hypersonic research is research for things going many times the speed of sound. More than five times the speed of sound," said Aeronautics Professor Steve Schneider.

That would get you from New York city to London in less than hour

Purdue is already home to one of two Mach 6 quiet wind tunnels in the nation.

Soon professors like Steve Schneider will be working on the world's first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel.

He said the new wind tunnel will be capable of collecting data at speeds eight times the speed of sound.

"It is like eight thousand feet per second. So about a mile and a half per second," said Schneider.

Data collected at these speeds are important in understanding flight control and heat transfer at such high speeds.

Schneider said this type of data is important in national defense.

"It would help us build better missiles to defend freedom for the US and it's allies," said Schneider. "People have been trying to build these kinds of wind tunnels for decades. It's very difficult to get a large amount of money for a major new kind of facility that's high risk. So we're very thankful."

The facility is planned to be built in Purdue's Aerospace District. Schneider said development will take a few years before the tunnel is fully functional.

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