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fluids, structural mechanics & acoustcs research areas

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Fluid Dynamics

Fluids, Structural Mechanics & Acoustics (FSMA) | fluids research (fr)

With its excellent test facilities, ARL Penn State has traditionally focused on experimental fluid dynamics, where fundamental and exploratory research is conducted into the physical phenomena governing boundary layer flows, cavitation, flow control, and the hydrodynamics of marine vehicles. To enhance this research, ARL Penn State has developed unique state-of-the-art facilities, instrumentation, and a methodology for the experimental study of fluid dynamic phenomena.





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ARL's state-of-the-art facilities include:

  • 48-inch-diameter water tunnel (Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel)
    • High Reynolds number pump (HIREP) facility
    • Large flat plate facility
  • 12-inch-diameter water tunnel
    • Centrifugal pump test facility
  • 6-inch-diameter water tunnel
  • pump loop test facility
  • 1.5-inch-diameter, high-speed, cavitation tunnel
  • Boundary layer research facility (glycerin tunnel)
  • Subsonic wind tunnels
  • Flow-through anechoic chamber
    • Axial-flow research fan
    • Quiet wall jet facility

The Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel refers both to the name of the largest water tunnel and to the building that houses most of these test facilities. The tunnel was built in 1949 under provisions of the U.S. Navy and has served as a Naval hydrodynamics facility for torpedoes.

In conjunction with research in experimental fluid dynamics, ARL Penn State works to develop a technology base for the design and analysis of marine vehicles integrated with their control systems and propulsors. This technology is applied in the development and demonstration of advanced concepts, with a focus on propulsor and turbomachinery design. This design work concurrently incorporates technology developed in other research areas at ARL Penn State-namely, flow and structural acoustics, computational mechanics, materials science, and manufacturing science.

ASME Historic Landmark

ASME Historic Landmark
The ASME History and Heritage Committee approved the nomination of the Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel for an ASME National Historic Landmark (Number 116) on May 23, 1995. The award presentation was here at ARL in the ASB Auditorium on May 6, 1996. The award was presented to ARL by the members of the ASME History and Heritage Committee and a large bronze plaque was given for display in the hallway leading up the stairs to the Garfield Thomas Building, where it is proudly displayed. This National Historic Landmark is only one of seventeen sites awarded in Pennsylvania by ASME International.