Wind Tunnel Testing

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Wind tunnel testing is an important step in designing new aircraft. This video shows footage of visualization tests of the 21-ft wingspan Boeing X-48C model in NASA Langley’s Full-Scale Tunnel. The X-48C is a blended wing body design capable of higher lift-to-drag ratios than conventional aircraft, which should lead to a higher range and greater fuel economy. The video shows some smoke visualization that illustrates airflow around the airfoil-shaped craft. The long probe sticking forward from the starboard wing is used to measure air pressure, angle of attack, and sideslip angle of the model. Notice how smoke from the wand is pulled from below the leading edge of the wing up and over the top of the wing. This is because there is lower pressure over the top of the wing than the bottom, and, like an electrical charge seeking the path of least resistance, fluids flow preferentially toward lower pressures. (Video credit: NASA Langley)

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