Fluorescent oil on Nasa plane to visualise flow

Nasa wind tunnel show airflow with fluorescent oil Nasa wind tunnel tests show airflow using fluorecent oil over the wings during research of future aircraft body designs
Researchers in the US have sprayed a fluorescent oil on a wind tunnel model to visualise the flow of air over the wing and body of an aircraft.

The work carried out by Nasa at its Langley Research Centre saw a 5.8% scale model of a futurist hybrid wing body undergoing testing to visualise airflow over the fuselage and wings. These patterns are important in determining crucial aircraft characteristics such as lift and drag.

It is one of the many techniques used to assess the feasibility of different designs of future aircraft and spacecraft. The model used in the picture above measures 14 by 22 foot (4.3m by 6.7m) and is shown here with two engines on top of the fuselage.

The test was carried out in a subsonic wind tunnel at a high angle of attack, with vortexes being formed and drifting down the wings, pointing to the possibility that the aircraft is being developed to be able to carry out a short take off and landings (STOL).

Nasa is well known for taking a practical approach to the development of aerospace vehicles and systems. Many of the techniques applied date back to the 1950s-60s, and while the agency has modernised by using all kinds of advanced simulation and computer aided research and development, it carries out more practical experiments and testing than perhaps any other agency in the world.

The pictured aircraft is known as the ‘hybrid wing body’ design and is an iteration on the blended


This material is protected by MA Business copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.


Supporting Information
Do you have any comments about this article?

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

© MA Business Ltd (a Mark Allen Group Company) 2021