General Description

SMART BLADE has considerable experience in designing custom-made sophisticated wind tunnel models. The Smart Blade engineering team has developed several wind tunnel test wings for various testing purposes for internal use or for external customers. The built test wings range from simple, solid block 2D shapes of a designated airfoil, to hollowed-out, shape-adjusting and sensor-crammed masterpieces.

Most often the wings are directly machined by high precision 5-axis CNC milling machines from special solid foam block material. But they can also be laminated, foam cut, 3D printed or assembled from combinations of it.

CAD model (Section view) of a SMART BLADE test wing model based on a NACA 0012 airfoil. [Source: SMART BLADE]

The inner structure is optimized during the design process in order to reduce weight without compromising the integrity of the wing. The internal blade structure is formed in a way that it is easy to attach custom sensors and actuators. Often additional metal beams and inner ribs are also attached to the blade structure to further increase stiffness and provide flexible mounting points for equipment. Many innovative ideas are incorporated in every test wing. That, in combination with the modular design principles allows maximum operational flexibility and longevity of the test wings .

Alternatively, SMART BLADE also designs molds for conventional wind tunnel test wings which can be laminated from glass or carbon fibre reinforced plastic (GRP and CFRP). This processes can also include other model-specific purposes (pressure channels, mechanical joinery) and either be manufactured from the molds by externals, the customer or by the Smart Blade in-house composite experts.

The model is hollow in order to accommodate pressure sensors and is machined out of a solid block of model making material. [Source: SMART BLADE]

Solid block ready for machining with a 5-axis CNC
...the inner part of the test wing is machined
...the outer top surface of a test wing is machined [Source: SMART BLADE]

Some specific test blade designs

Original CAD view of the test blade
View of the rear segments of the test blade
View of the front segments of the test blade

SMART BLADE GmbH provided several designs for advanced wind tunnel test wings for the Hermann Foettinger Institute of TU Berlin. One of them is presented here, as it concludes the demanding requirements to incorporate a large number of features inside a test wing. Some of the main features are: 

- Modular construction: The wing can me split in 6 parts which are exchangeable and are fixed together in a way that allows the easy handling of the wing. The individual parts are designed and manufactured in a way that the overall wing maintains perfect aerodynamic characteristics.

- Low weight: The wing is precisely machined out of solid form making material with the use of 5-axis CNC milling machine. This production process allows for advanced internal design solutions with many weight reducing openings.

- Integration of Sensors and Actuators: The purpose of the blade was the investigation of active flow control solutions. For this reason several static and dynamic pressure sensors were integrated in the design as well as ports for Zero Mass Flux actuators.

Further designs are (list not complete):

- Highly complex test wing with sensors and actuators for research on flexible trailing edges
- Test wing with more than 50 pressure ports, fully accessible by hollowed, modular segments
- Test wing for research on slats
- Test wing for research on flexible leading edge and trailing edge

Some images of our test wing projects:

Machining on a big CNC mill
A test wing built for research on flexible trailing edge flaps
Test wing fully assembled, ready for the wind tunnel test
Another test wing with highly hollowed inside, comming in 6 parts
We wish you the most success for your experiments!!

More Information

For more technical information, custom design requests and pricing please
contact us at: info[at]smart-blade.com