ESWIRP: European Strategic Wind tunnels Improved Research Potential – Program Overview
“European Strategic Wind tunnel Improved Research Potential” ESWIRP is a project in the EU 7th Framework program (FP7), which was designed to improve the performance capabilities of three strategic wind tunnels in Europe, by strengthening the cooperation between these wind tunnels in a new consortium. The research consortium members are ONERA (operating the S1MA as its largest sonic wind tunnel), DNW (operating the LLF as its largest low speed wind tunnel) and ETW (operating its cryogenic transonic wind tunnel). Together these wind tunnels cover a wide range of experimental situations of relevance for civil aviation and other aeronautical research. The project started in October 2009 for a period of 5 years. The European financial contribution was € 7.2 million. The project consist of two major parts: 1) the improvements to the testing infrastructure; and 2) the provision of wind tunnel access to research groups which do not usually have the means to access such large-scale test facilities. These topics also involved public dissemination and information activities. Although the tunnels covered in this project are of complementary nature, the infrastructure activities are joined together, by a common representation of, and approach to, the tunnel performance characteristics. To this end, a generic model of a virtual wind tunnel was developed, enabling operators to assess the effect of the control parameters upon the testing conditions. The final aim of all participants was to provide the user community with an improved capacity to test their innovative ideas, and to be able to do this with increased reliability. Providing access to those major wind tunnels, mainly concerned research groups from European universities, who had been targeted. The approach taken has included maximum transparency of the process, and support of the researchers by the organizations responsible for the tunnels. In addition, when possible, we encouraged research groups to work together, to obtain the full benefit of economies of scale in research projects. ESWIRP responds to the targeted approach of the Integrating Activities of the FP7 Capacities Work Programme: *Networking activities, essentially focused around 4 topics: Ø Organization of information campaigns, lectures and workshops to disseminate knowledge between the partners and future users, Ø Opening of a website for the consultation of wind tunnel standards, Ø Exchange of personnel between the Consortium partners to foster spreading of good practices and the exchange technical know-how, Ø Joint development of a reference wind tunnel parameter database. Trans-national access and/or testing services: After the call for proposals by the facility providers, groups of researchers had the opportunity to have free wind tunnel services, including technical assistance to support the corresponding scientific research team(s). Joint research activities: Through innovative modelling of wind tunnels, it has helped designers to make better decisions, before the implementation of novel hardware. This is the first time that mathematical modelling has created a standard for wind tunnels. The infrastructure improvements targeted the capability to obtain unsteady test data with high accuracy in the ETW, to improve the capability to simulate aircraft behavior in ground effect in the LLF, and to establish a reliable closed-loop Mach number control in the S1MA wind tunnel. ESWIRP is European support for strategic wind tunnels, key research infrastructures in the development process of current and future aircraft. This is the first time that European authorities have given such support.