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Wind Tunnel Testing

Wind Tunnel Testing

Wind tunnel testing equipment upgraded with Exlar’s GSM30 actuator in Arlington, Washington.


Application

Movement of airplane prototypes during tesƟng in Kirsten Wind Tunnel

Customer

Aeronautical Testing Services, located in Arlington, Washington, is an aeronauƟcal consulting and manufacturing company that specializes in wind tunnel testing in support of FAA certification.

The University of Washington Aeronautical Lab (UWAL) has operated the Kirsten Wind Tunnel since 1939 for commercial and academic testing.  The Kirsten Wind Tunnel is a subsonic, closed circuit, double return wind tunnel.  

Customer Challenge

Aeronautical Testing Services was tasked with providing an alternative solution to a pneumatic cylinder for an axis on a test system which controls the pitch of models during testing in the University of Washington Aeronautical Lab’s (UWAL) Kirsten Wind Tunnel.  The pneumatic cylinder UWAL had controlling the axis could not provide the required force, speed or precise position control needed to complete testing for a specific airplane company.  Furthermore, there were tight space constraints on UWAL’s test system, as shown in the photo above.  UWAL needed a compact solution that could produce high forces which meant they could not upgrade their exisƟng pneumatic cylinder as this would require a larger cylinder that would not fit inside the testing equipment.  A low cost actuator was also considered as a replacement for the pneumatic cylinder, however it did not allow for accurate servo control and did not provide the necessary force density to perform successfully in this application.

Solution

Aeronautical Testing Services identified Exlar’s GSM30 linear actuator as an ideal replacement for the pneumatic cylinder in UWAL’s test system.  The GSM30 actuator provided the force and speed necessary to position the model and because it is servo controlled it allows for much more precise position control than could be achieved with a pneumatic cylinder.  This has allowed UWAL to closely monitor numerous variables while adjusting the pitch of the model being tested.  Additionally, because Exlar’s GS Series actuators have an integrated brushless motor it makes them very compact and able to fit into applications where space is limited. 

Results

Increased force and speed capabiliƟes of UWAL’s testing equipment

Allowed for more precise positioning and monitoring of variables during testing

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