The Houghton wind tunnel (HWT) is an open-jet, closed-loop, temperature-controlled tunnel, designed, built and commissioned by the Aeromechanical Systems Group in 1996. Designed to serve the professional motorsport industry, the size and ease of access to the HWT has enabled it to be used on a large variety of consulting and research projects.

Summary of applications

With a top speed of over 40m/s, flow exits the nozzle – 1.66m high x 2.74m wide – into the 4m long working section. Models are held in the working section with an overhead strut structure, rated to 6kN, that is also a conduit for force measurement devices in the model. The open-jet design of the tunnel enables fast and easy access to models in the testing section, even with the tunnel running, and full-road access to the working section gives flexibility to commercial users. An additional compressed air supply can provide 7-bar dried air to models in the working section.

A removable rolling road floor can be used in conjunction with the tunnel to test ground effects. The road itself is 1.5m wide x 3.5m long, temperature-controlled and capable of speeds up to 50m/s, together with the tunnel running. A suction array upstream of the road ensures complete control over ground effects and boundary layers. The entire rolling road and floor section is completely removable, enabling models to be exposed to the full exit jet without the boundary layer effects of closed-jet tunnels.

All the tunnel's features, such as speed, temperature and the rolling road, are controlled from a sound-insulated control room adjacent to the working section with clear viewing of the working section.