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Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory

Located within the east block of the School of Engineering and Materials Science is the Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory.

The Aeronautical area comprises the Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory and High Speed Laboratory: all SEMS students and staff are welcome to access the area. Other interested parties may also visit the area by appointment, please contact us in the first instance.

For general enquires, please email or telephone 020 7882 6836.

Under the mechanical department umbrella you will also find The Makerspace and the Mechanical Workshop.

The Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory: use your mouse, keyboard or touchscreen to have a look around

About The Area


About The Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory

Low speed tunnels

There are two low speed wind tunnels which are regularly used for teaching, undergraduate projects and research activities. Undergraduate students work on topics such as aerodynamics of: airships, wings, road & sport vehicles, flow control for the reduction of drag, jet engine compressor, turbine blades and wind energy, etc.

The cross sectional areas of the low speed wind tunnels ranges from 0.52m x 0.38 m to 1.2 m x 1.2 m with a maximum speed of 40 m/s.

In addition to the wind tunnels themselves these laboratories contain a large variety of flow measurement and visualisation tools including:

  • Pressure probes.
  • Flow Visualisation tools such as smoke, oil and schlieren system.
  • State of art image processing techniques for obtaining qualitative and quantitative information about the flow field.
  • Hot-Wire Anemometers for turbulence measurements.
  • Advanced optical flow diagnostic tools such as Particle Image Velocitemetry (PIV) and Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV).
  • Direct force and moment measurement using single, three and six-component balances.
  • Noise measurement devices.

High speed tunnels

The Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory is equipped with three high speed wind tunnels covering a range of Mach numbers from M=0.3 to three times speed of sound , M=3.0. The high speed facilities are used for undergraduate teaching, laboratory practicals and research projects in aerospace engineering.

These wind tunnels are also being used for research in areas such as:

  • Aerodynamics of Jet Engine Turbine Blades at Transonic Speeds
  • Control of Shock-Boundary Layer Interactions at Transonic-Supersonic speeds
  • Cavity Flows, base drag etc.