Optical windows for wind tunnel aerodynamic testing

27th October 2020
Alex Lynn

Optical Surfaces has produced large diameter, high precision windows for wind tunnel aerodynamic testing. Aerodynamicists and engineers use wind tunnels to test models of proposed aircraft and engine components. During a test, the model is placed in the test section of the tunnel and air is made to flow past the model.

Schlieren imaging is a valuable technique to provide diagnostic information about the 'invisible' flow of air around the model.

Benefiting from an ultra-stable production environment and proprietary polishing techniques – Optical Surfaces is able to routinely produce optical windows up to 600mm in diameter with typical wavefront error of lambda/10 and surface finish of 40/20 to 10/5.

This precision manufacturing capability in optical materials including BK-7 and fused silica, which offer good homogeneity and transmission from the UV to the Near-IR, combines to provide the perfect wind tunnel optical window to ensure superior Schlieren image quality.

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