NASA Put an F-18 Model Plane in a Water Tunnel to Test Air Flow Around the Aircraft

By: | August 28th, 2015

All of these images are real, part of a test by NASA to determine the air flow around an F-18.

In order to test this, they used an F-18 model plane and put it in a water tunnel with copious amounts of dye.

The results were pretty fascinating and actually look something like works of art with all of the crazy colors and dye swirling around.

Incredibly, this simulation took place back in 1985 at the Dryden Flight Research Center as part of an initiative to test an aircraft without putting anyone or anything in danger.

The following excerpt is from NASA:

“Water is pumped through the tunnel in the direction of normal airflow over the aircraft; then, colored dyes are pumped through tubes with needle valves. The dyes flow back along the airframe and over the airfoils highlighting their aerodynamic characteristics. The aircraft can also be moved through its pitch axis to observe airflow disruptions while simulating actual flight at high angles of attack.”

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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