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Modernizing A Legacy Wind Tunnel: Hanging Onto And Letting Go Of The Past

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Conference

2004 Annual Conference

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Computer-Based Measurements

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

9.924.1 - 9.924.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/12949

Download Count

38

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Paper Authors

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Keith Koenig

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Viva Austin

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Bryan Gassaway

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Thomas Hannigan

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session Number 3159

Modernizing a Legacy Wind Tunnel: Hanging Onto and Letting Go of the Past Thomas Hannigan, Keith Koenig, Bryan Gassaway, Viva Austin Department of Aerospace Engineering, Mississippi State University

Abstract

A medium-scale, closed-circuit subsonic wind tunnel facility used for undergraduate aerospace engineering laboratory experimentation and research represents a substantial investment in resources. The control systems and data acquisition systems must evolve so that the age of the facility does not prejudice researchers serious about their academic endeavors. The evolution of such a system is detailed, including plant development, improvement and modernization of its systems, and data acquisition and control systems (DACS) programming. Individual student research projects that contributed to the continued evolution of the facility are described, and the usefulness of maintaining such a facility as a training tool in dealing with legacy systems is discussed. Through five distinct iterations of programming environments and hardware exchanges, some integral components have remained untouched through years of refinement, due to their robust initial design and continued reliable service. Recognition of system limitations and capabilities is essential to successful upgrade of systems such as these. The implementation of a user-friendly interface for control of the wind tunnel and selection of various data acquisition options is detailed, and the development of the current LabVIEW program is discussed. The importance of being able to re-equip and reprogram DACS instrumentation and presentation is presented as being essential in maintaining a positive image of the research laboratory.

The Early Tunnel

Research facilities and undergraduate teaching laboratories are a necessary part of any aerospace engineering programs physical infrastructure. Academic faculty members are encouraged to continue research in their primary interest areas, and indeed such research is a requirement for those at research institutions. Large-scale laboratory systems such as wind tunnels are not simply static facilities. A medium-scale, closed-circuit subsonic wind tunnel facility used for undergraduate aerospace engineering laboratory experimentation and research represents a substantial investment in resources. The laboratory building housing a wind tunnel is often constructed around such a facility, and support facilities are sized and located accordingly. The facility housed in Patterson Hall at Mississippi State University (MSU) was moved into the building upon completion of construction in the 1960s. Wood and machine shop facilities were located adjacent to the tunnel to provide research and educational support. The tunnel has an octagonal

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Koenig, K., & Austin, V., & Gassaway, B., & Hannigan, T. (2004, June), Modernizing A Legacy Wind Tunnel: Hanging Onto And Letting Go Of The Past Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/12949

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