Skip to main content
Select Source:

wind tunnel

wind tunnel, apparatus for studying the interaction between a solid body and an airstream. A wind tunnel simulates the conditions of an aircraft in flight by causing a high-speed stream of air to flow past a model of the aircraft (or part of an aircraft) being tested. The model is mounted on wires so that lift and drag forces on it can be measured by measuring the tensions in the wire. The paths of the airstream around the model can also be studied by attaching tufts of wool (which align themselves with the wind direction) to various parts of the model, by injecting thin streams of smoke into the tunnel to render the airflow visible, or by using certain optical devices. Pressures on the model surface are measured through small flush openings in its surface. Forces exerted on the model may be determined from measurement of the airflow upstream and downstream of the model. In wind tunnels operating well below the speed of sound, the airstream is created by large motor-driven vanes. At velocities near or above the speed of sound, the airstream is created either by releasing highly compressed air from a tank at the upwind end of the tunnel or by allowing air to rush through the tunnel into a previously evacuated vacuum tank at its downwind end. Sometimes these methods are combined, especially for the production of hypersonic velocities, i.e., velocities at least five times as great as the speed of sound. The effect of wind on other vehicles, e.g., automobiles, and on stationary objects such as buildings and bridges may also be studied in wind tunnels. In many instances, wind tunnels have been rendered obsolete by computer modeling.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wind tunnel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wind tunnel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wind-tunnel

"wind tunnel." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wind-tunnel

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

wind tunnel

wind tun·nel / wind/ • n. a tunnel-like apparatus for producing an airstream of known velocity past models of aircraft, buildings, etc., in order to investigate flow or the effect of wind on the full-size object. ∎  an open space through which strong winds are channeled by surrounding tall buildings.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wind tunnel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wind tunnel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wind-tunnel

"wind tunnel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wind-tunnel

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

wind tunnel

wind tunnel Chamber in which scale models and even full-size aircraft and road vehicles are tested in a controlled airflow. Some wind tunnels can reproduce extreme conditions of wind speed, temperature, and pressure. Models of bridges and other structures are tested in wind tunnels to check that winds cannot set up destructive vibrations.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wind tunnel." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"wind tunnel." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wind-tunnel

"wind tunnel." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wind-tunnel

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.