Altitude icing wind tunnel research facility

The NRC's altitude icing wind tunnel is capable of meeting all your icing certification and research needs, with a proven track record of providing high-quality repeatable results to clients. The tunnel's comparatively small test section, combined with its relatively high-speed capabilities, make it particularly suitable and efficient for the testing of instrumentation and viewing of the microphysical processes of ice accretion. Its ability to simulate flight at altitudes as high as 40,000 ft (12,000 m) makes this facility a unique icing wind tunnel.

Our capabilities

The facility supports research organizations and commercial clients with:

  • development, testing and certification of aircraft ice detection and air data probes
  • development, testing or calibration of aircraft or cloud physics instrumentation
  • development and testing of de-icing and anti-icing systems
  • evaluation of ice accretion on non-protected aircraft components
  • evaluation of instrumentation for wind-turbine industry
  • validation of numerical ice accretion codes
  • studies on basic physical processes leading to ice accretion

Our world-leading experts provide skilled and experienced professional and technical support in all aspects of icing wind tunnel testing including test design, model design and fabrication, instrumentation, test management, through to report preparation. Our expertise also encompasses icing tunnel testing techniques, customized data processing and computational fluid dynamics simulations. Test results from the facility have been accepted by certification authorities such as Transport Canada, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Why work with us

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: 57 cm high x 57 cm wide x 183 cm long (22.5 in x 22.5 in x 72 in)
  • air velocity: 5 to 100 m/s (Mach 0.015 to 0.3)

Reduced working section:

  • size: 33 cm high x 52 cm wide x 60 cm long (13 in x 20.5 in x 24 in) (with insert)
  • air velocity: 8 to 180 m/s (Mach 0.025 to 0.53)

Aerodynamic and thermal conditions:

  • velocity spatial uniformity variation ±1%
  • static air temperature (at max. velocity): -40°C to +30°C (-40°F to 86°F)
  • static air temperature spatial uniformity variation 0.5°C
  • flow angularity 0.25° in pitch and yaw
  • turbulence intensity 0.9%
  • altitude simulation: ground to 12.2 km (40,000 ft)

Icing conditions:

  • liquid water content (at max. velocity): 0.1 to 2.5 g/m3 (0.1 to 3.5 g/m3 with insert)
  • droplet median volume diameter: 8 to 200 μm
  • bi-model spray distribution for freezing drizzle SLD conditions
  • ice crystal conditions up to median volume diameters of 100 μm (liquid nitrogen injection system)

Data system and instrumentation:

  • software: capable of providing customized configurations and software tools for clients
  • model mounts: custom mounting to test section panels, yaw turntable system and two-axis traverser system
  • pressure measurements: multiple channel high-speed pressure scanning system and multiple individual pressure sensors
  • temperature measurements: multiple thermocouple and RTD inputs
  • data acquisition: AS5562 compliant 20 Hz data output, high-speed multiple channel analog inputs available
  • videography: four channels of digital HD video to Blue-Ray with video overlay

Auxiliary Services:

  • AC power:
    • 105 to 125 V, 1 Phase, 400 Hz; 1000 VA
    • 575 V, 3 Phase, 60 Hz; 30 A
    • 220 V, 1 Phase, 60 Hz; 20 A
    • 110 V, 1 Phase, 60 Hz; 20 A
  • DC power:
    • 15 to 36 V; 100 A
    • 0 to 40 V; 30 A
    • 28 V; 8 A
  • heated compressed air: Up to 115 g/s (200 SCFM) at 800 kPa (115 psig) and 350°C (575ºF)