3 m x 6 m icing wind tunnel research facility

The 3 m x 6 m icing wind tunnel bridges the gap between a conventional wind tunnel and an engine test cell. The wind tunnel has several unique features which lend themselves to a variety of applications.

Our capabilities

This is the only facility in the world that can accommodate full-scale, full-speed, cold temperature tests with fluids. The facility is also ideal for large-scale, bluff-body aerodynamic investigations such as cable vibration studies.

The wind tunnel features an open-circuit design meaning a naturally cold test section is available in the winter for icing research. This capability, combined with the working section height, results in the ability to simulate larger water droplets than most icing wind tunnels can support. Small cloud droplets and freezing drizzle can also be simulated.

The open-circuit layout, with fan at entry, permits contaminants associated with the test arrangements (such as heat, combustion products, wakes, jets, lost lubricants) to discharge directly, without re-circulating or contacting the fan. A drainage system in the diffuser collects and disposes of larger volumes of liquid contaminants, such as anti-icing fluids, in an environmentally responsible manner. The high-solidity fan reduces unsteadiness due to atmospheric wind.

Experiments on propulsion systems are facilitated by a connection to a compressor facility. Compressed air can be used to simulate jet effluxes or to drive turbine-powered fans, and to simulate intake suction characteristics.

The facility is also ideal for large-scale, bluff-body aerodynamic investigations such as cable vibration studies. The length of the wind tunnel's test section simulates natural winds using the NRC-developed spire technique. Several recent investigations have focused on characterizing the highly turbulent air wake in the vicinity of aviation-capable ships.

Why work with us

The NRC has recognized expertise in wind tunnel correction methodologies, pressure-sensitive paint technology, model deformation measurement capability and flow mapping. Our world-renowned team includes aerodynamicists, flight engineers and business experts that will support your research initiatives with professional services and industry know-how. Working in our unique facilities to test, validate and demonstrate your product provides a controlled environment to de-risk new and experimental products with reliable data that will be critical in the large-scale or commercial development of your product.

We also have prominent competencies in:

  • aeroacoustic measurement, testing and evaluation, which can determine three dimensional sound fields generated by a model in a wind tunnel
  • flight vehicle aerodynamics
  • ground vehicle and ground-based structures aerodynamics
  • icing formation, detection and mitigation, including a significant capability to experimentally and numerically study the effects of icing on the performance of fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and cables
  • sports aerodynamics, preparing athletes with critical data that can maximize speed and performance


Standard working section:

  • size: 6.1 m high x 3.1 m wide x 12.2 m long (20 ft. x 10 ft. x 40 ft.)
  • max. velocity: 32 m/s on electric drive, 50 m/s on gas turbine drive

Reduced working section:

  • size: 4.9 m high x 3.1 m wide x 6.4 m long (16 ft. x 10 ft. x 21 ft.)(with insert)
  • max. velocity: 44 m/s on electric drive, 65 m/s on gas turbine drive

Aerodynamic and thermal conditions:

  • velocity spatial uniformity variation < ±0.5%
  • flow angularity < 1.5° in pitch and < 0.75° in yaw
  • turbulence intensity < 0.75%
  • air temperature dependent on outdoor weather conditions (icing conditions typically between December and March)

Data system and instrumentation:

  • software: TestSLATE test control and management system with test-specific applications using MATLAB® and LabVIEW™.
  • A/D channels: 24 and 16 bit systems @ 10 to 100 kHz, custom configurations
  • Pressure measurements: up to 512 channel high-speed pressure scanning system (Scanivalve ZOC™) and multiple individual pressure sensors (Kulite®)
  • various internal and external balances available
  • model mounts: side-wall pitch rig, floor turntable and custom mounts available
  • videography: 2 roof-mounted and 1 floor-mounted cameras for wide-angle views of models
  • flow visualization: particle image velocimetry, smoke, surface oil, tufts

Auxiliary services:

  • compressed air up to 14.5 kg/s at 700 kPa
  • roof spray system for simulating ground freezing rain and freezing drizzle conditions.
  • drainage system for liquids (water, de/anti-icing fluids, etc.)