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Wind Tunnel

Equipment and Facilities

Situated in Tullahoma, Tennessee, adjacent to the epicenter of US aerospace ground testing at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), the University of Tennessee Space Institute is home to over 80,000 square feet of laboratories featuring world-class facilities and instrumentation. Check out some of the equipment available to researchers on our campus below.

Research Capabilities

Learn more about what research opportunities are available by working at or with the University of Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Hear from faculty, staff, and students what makes conducting research at UTSI different.


The CLA facility was established in 1984 as a state funded “Center of Excellence” to provide outstanding capabilities in research, education, and technology transfer relating to laser applications. The CLA occupies buildings 8184 and 8189 and consists of over 29,000 ft2 of lab and office space. The laboratories contain advanced laser system, optics, materials processing and analytical systems. The labs also include a class clean room nano-fabrication facility and a chemistry lab.

  • Chemistry Science Laboratory
    • The lab includes 2 fume hoods, several furnaces and ovens, a DI water system, glassware and expendables for analysis, eye wash stations, a chemical storage area and plenty of bench tops for working areas. The equipment list includes:
      • Thermogravimetric Analysis System (TGA)
      • Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometer (ICP)
      • Ion chromatograph
      • Thermal Analysis Instruments (TA Instruments) SDT Q600 simultaneous TGA and DSC (Thermogravimetric Analysis and Differential Scanning Calorimetry)
      • Bruker Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer
      • Netzsch 200 F3 Maia Differential Scanning Calorimeter
      • Variety of microscopes, balances, and a separate area to do water quality analysis.
  • Materials Science Laboratory
    • The lab has a large variety of material and bio material testing equipment to include:
      • LEICA DVM6 digital microscope
      • JEOL JSM- iT700HR/LV Low Vacuum Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with JEOL JED-2300 Energy Dispersive X-ray System (EDS) 
      • SEE Co Mössbauer Spectrometer with Sources for 57Fe and 151Eu
      • Micromeritics Nanoplus Zeta/nanoparticle analyzer
      • Krüss DSA 20E Easy Drop Standard Contact Angle Machine
      • JASCO V-770 Wide Wavelength Range UV-visible/NIR Spectrophotometer
      • Photon Technology International QM-3A luminescent spectrophotometer
      • MTS Model 312.31 25-ton Tensile Testing Machine
      • Split-Hopkinson Pressure Bar system (SHPB) for high strain rate materials characterization
      • Buehler Micromet II Microhardness Tester
      • HORIBA XploRA Plus Confocal Raman Microscope
      • BioLogic Model SP-50 Potentiostat
  • Advanced Technology Laboratory
  • Nanodynamics and High-Efficiency Laboratory (NanoHelp Lab)
  • Flow Diagnostics Laboratory
  • Picosecond Laboratory
  • X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory
    • Rigaku SmartLab X-ray Diffraction System

  • High Pressure Air
    • High pressure air flow capabilities include eighteen 3,000 psig air storage tanks that are valved into a blow-down air supply system. This can provide up to 6,200 lbm flow capacity at 10 to 200 lbm/s. Lower flow rates can be controlled with an alternate regulator, and system recharge is provided at 500 lbm/h.
  • Low Pressure Air
    • Low pressure, high volume flow is provided at 6 lbm/sec up to 150 psi by regulating the 3000 psig high pressure supply through a Dresser/Grove 311B Powreactor 1.5” regulator (Cv = 26). This air is piped to the PRF facility underground 1080 ft through 4” pipe that provides geothermal temperature stability.
  • Heated Low Pressure Air
    • The UTSI Propulsion Research Facility has the capability of supplying heated air with flow rates up to 6 lbm/sec and pressures up to 150 psi.  This can be directed though a 0.5 um Balston coalescing filter and a 274KW HETC electric air heater.  Examples of capabilities are heated air at 2.0 lbm/sec at 500°F or 1.46 lbm/sec at 650°F.  The air comes from the high pressure storage facility with at least 6,200 lbm of usable air that can be recharged at a rate of 0.75lbm/sec or the low pressure compressors.

A water channel laboratory is available for fluid flow modeling studies.  The facility includes an Aerolab water channel that has a 15” x 20” x 60” test section with three transparent sides.  The water speed is infinitely variable from 0 to 3 ft/sec.  Up to 6 different colored or florescent dyes may be injected for flow visualization.  Laser light sheets to aid visualization can be created using 405nm or 513 nm lasers.  A custom 2 axis force balance is also available for lift and drag studies.  Water velocity is monitored using a Sierra Instruments, Innova-Sonic Model 205 ultrasonic flow meter.

  • Low Speed Wind Tunnel Facility
    • Contains a subsonic, single pass, ambient air wind tunnel. Precise air speeds of 0 – 250 fps can be controlled through its 14 inch high, 20 inch wide, 3 foot long test section. The tunnel is also equipped with a 29” by 9.5” moving floor to simulate a roadbed for vehicle aerodynamic studies.  The flow is monitored and controlled with a National Instruments LabVIEW DAQ and control system.

  • HORIZON Center
    • The High-Speed Original Research and Innovation Zone (HORIZON) was founded in the fall of 2014 when John Schmisseur joined the faculty at UTSI.  His goal was to conduct foundational research in aerothermodynamics and the science of ground testing through both his research on the numerical modeling of complex flows and shock waves, and the experimental capabilities of the university. He is building a center with the goal of national leadership in aerospace and defense research.
  • TALon (Tennessee Aerothermal Laboratory)
    • The TALon Lab has 8,515 ft2 of laboratory and offices dedicated to advanced hypersonic research.  The facility houses the M4 Ludwieg tunnel, the new M7 Ludwieg tunnel and the proposed new high enthalpy tunnel.
    • M4 Ludwieg Wind Tunnel
      • Ludwieg style wind tunnel
      • Mach 4 run conditions
      • 24” x 24” x 72” Test Section
      • 105’ x 24” Driver Section
      • 150 psig Driver Pressure
      • 1 torr downstream vacuum
      • 200 ms on-condition time

  • Ludwieg style wind tunnel
  • Mach 7 run conditions
  • 18” x 18” 2D Test Section
  • 36” Axisymmetric free-jet test section
  • 100’ x 10” Driver Section
  • 300 psig Driver Pressure
  • 550°F Driver operating temperature
  • 1 torr downstream vacuum
  • 200 ms on-condition time

UTSI’s Machine Shop, founded in 1975, offers a variety of machine shop services. Located in the Research Lab area, the shop has a floor space of 4,000 square feet. Machinery includes a variety of milling machines ranging from a #4 Cincinnati mill to several Bridgeport mills. there are also seven Monarch lathes capable of machining up to 24 inches in diameter.

  • Haas VF-9 84” x 40” x 30”
  • Vertical Axis CNC Mill
  • Haas 4 Axis CNC Mill
  • 10 Inch Monarch Lathe (2)
  • 16 Inch Monarch Lathe (2)
  • 20 Inch Monarch Lathe (2)
  • Harding Lathe
  • Index Vertical Mill
  • Bridgport Vertical Mill (2)
  • Kearney and Trecker Horizontal Mill (2)
  • Southbend Horizontal Mill
  • Powermatic Band Saw
  • Doall Band Saw (2)
  • Johnson Cutoff Saw
  • Cincinnati Tool Grinder
  • Grand Rapis Surface Grinder
  • Avey Drill Press
  • Wysong Shear

  • Cryogenic Fuel Rocket Engine Test Stand
    • Houses a facility for testing small cryogenically fuel rocket engines and evaluating cryogenic rocket fuels. To supply the cryogenic liquid methane (LCH4) used as a fuel, a cryogenic methane condenser has been developed.  Run tanks for LCH4 and LOX are available.
  • Mach 2 Wind Tunnel Facility
    • The Mach 2 Wind Tunnel Facility contains a supersonic, blow-down wind tunnel.  The test section is 8” x 8” x 4’. The max pressure rating for the stilling plenum is 70 psi.  The operating air is supplied from the UTSI high pressure air facility with run times of up to 2 minutes. Flow visualization can be accomplished with a variety of techniques including schlieren imaging, particle image velocimetry (PIV), high speed imaging, oil flow and pressure sensitive paint (PSP).
  • Shaker Table Facility
    • The Shaker Table Facility consists of a Ling B335 shaker table with Data Physics Signal Star Vector Controller capable of the following modes: Random, Sine, Classic Shock, Shock Response Spectrum. The shaker can generate 17,500lb force total load, up to 150 G and up to +/- 0.5 in displacement.  It can be operated from 5 to 3000 Hz and has a 70 in/s max velocity. The table can support vertical static loads of 2,000 lbs and horizontal statics loads of 1,000 lbs (five inches from the table surface).

The Jet Engine Facility houses a General Electric J85-5H afterburning turbojet for jet engine, augmenter and sensor research. Both low hour and high hour engines are available. The engines can be operated over the complete throttle range from idle to full afterburner. The engine is fully instrumented and performance, operability, control-settings and component performance are displayed and recorded. For more information contact Joel Davenport.

  • General Electric J85-5H afterburning turbojet

  • Chamber 11F
    • A large cryogenically cooled, computer controlled 9-ft (2.7m) dia x 20-ft (6.0m)long vacuum chamber, capable of maintaining a baseline pressure of 0.1 microtorr.  The chamber is outfitted with an LN2 cryo-liner and a helium-cooled cryosurface with an active area of about 36,000 sq in.
  • Chamber 20V
    • A vertical stainless steel chamber with an ID of 22” and a height of 18” , pumped by an Osaka model TG220FRAB turbomolecular pump with a 220 l/s nitrogen pump speed.  The chamber has an 20” ID, LN2 cryo-liner and a Sumitomo CH-210 cold head/ F70L compressor module with a 120W/77K 1st stage and a 7.0W/20K 2nd stage.
  • Chamber 29H
    • A horizontal stainless steel chamber with an ID of 34” and a length of 60”. The chamber has an 29” ID, LN2 cryo-liner.
  • Chamber 15H
    • A horizontal stainless steel chamber with an ID of 15” and a length of 56”.