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Closer ties for aeronautical research and industry

Wind tunnels are large chambers through which air is forced at controlled velocities to study air flow around an object. Thus, they are research tools that have obvious use in aeronautical investigations and clear value to industry.
Closer ties for aeronautical research and industry
The ‘European Windtunnel Association’ (EWA) project was designed to form a Network of Excellence (NOE) among research institutes and the aerospace industry to integrate and strengthen European aeronautical research. The focus of the EWA project was on establishing standardised wind tunnel testing techniques to facilitate collaborations among researchers and industry and thus commercialisation of research concepts.

The investigators developed new concepts for model manufacture as well as innovative measurement techniques related to surface, flow field and sound field measurements. The measurement techniques were demonstrated outside the EWA to increase new contacts and future collaborations. EWA also developed standardised procedures for exchanging data as well as standardised terminology to ensure better communication.

In addition, the researchers organised several workshops to bring together experimentalists working with wind tunnels and developers of numerical methods to foster better collaboration and data sharing, given the increasing and significant role of numerical models in guiding and validating experimental research.

The EWA project significantly fostered the important role of women in wind tunnel research through special school laboratory courses on fluid mechanics for female students and their teachers. A thorough analysis of capabilities and willingness on the part of EWA members led to definition of future needs, market expectations and technology requirements with the customer in mind.

In summary, EWA successfully accelerated the rate at which experimental techniques are put into operation in industrial wind tunnels, providing an important advantage to the European aeronautical industry in the global wind tunnel testing market. The partnership formed will continue as the EWA Trade Association, ensuring future innovations and competitiveness.

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