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 of a SMART BLADE test wing model based on a NACA 0012 airfoil. The model is hollow in order to accommodate pressure sensors and is machined out of a solid block of model making material.

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.


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]

Specific test blade designs

SMART BLADE GmbH provided several advanced wind tunnel test wing designs and ready-to-use models for mayor wind energy research institutions. Such as the Hermann Foettinger Institute of TU Berlin /ISTA, Technion Israel, University of Oldenburg and Technical University of Athens.

General features of our test wings often include following features:

- Modular construction: The wing can be split in parts which are exchangeable and are fixed together in a way that allows the easy handling of the wing and/or access to inner features and measuring equipment. The individual parts are designed, manufactured and assembled in a way that the overall wing maintains perfect aerodynamic characteristics.

- Low weight: Depending on the envisioned operation load spectrum, material density, strength and geometry are optimizied with help of FEA. The wing is then precisely machined out of solid form making material with a 5-axis CNC milling machine and reinforced locally.

- Integration of Sensors and Actuators: We have experience in the integration of common features and sensors for wind tunnel tests: pressure taps, conrad & cobra probes, pressure sensors, strain gauges, accelerometers and microphones. For the investigation of e.g. active flow control solutions, we also integrated ports for Zero-Net Mass-Flux (ZNMF) actuators, servo motors, pneumatic actuators and passive kinematics (e.g. spring loaded, coupled mechanisms).

Some noteable 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
- Test wing with 68 pressure ports and servo-actuated, freely positioned TE flap

Original CAD view of ZNMF test blade
View of the rear segments of the test blade
View of the front segments of the test blade
5-axis CNC milling
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