TsAGI’s Centenary in History: Т-109 supersonic Wind Tunnel
24 October 2019
- Model of Su-27 in Т-109 WT
- T-109 WT external view
October 1 — 10, 1953 saw the first trial runs of TsAGI’s T-109 large supersonic periodic Wind Tunnel (WT). The facility and its building were constructed on a tight timetable: for three years. The Т-109 start-up provided a breakthrough in the development of domestic supersonic aircraft and rocket science for years to come.
The need to create such an installation was dictated by the time itself: supersonic aircraft-building and rocket production underwent rapid expansion. Academicians Khristianovich S.A., Lyzhin O.V., Aristarkhov S.A., Knivel V.G. and many other TsAGI’s leading experts were among the developers of T-109 WT. Even nowadays, owing to its unique parameters, Т-109 WT is a strategic object of Russia’s National Technological Base. It can be used to conduct all the existing types of aerodynamic tests. Neither new supersonic rockets nor aviation technologies would appear in the Russian Federation without this facility.
During its lifetime, Т-109 WT has been under permanent enhancement and development. In the first ten years, the operating modes of the facility were adjusted and the basic testing methods were developed. The second stage of WT operation was devoted to the introduction of the then up-to-date measurement techniques, including TsAGI’s first strain-gauge balance. There, the entire methodology of strain-gauge balance weighting experiment was developed. From mid-1970s until 1989 the core modernization of the basic technological equipment and WT experiment automation took place. As a result, T-109 got an adjustable nozzle that was tuned up to provide continuous changes of Mach number from 0.4 to 4.0. In addition, other equally important studies were conducted. At the next stage that lasted up until 2007 new measuring, informational, and digital technologies were embedded into the practice for supersonic wind tunnel tests. Experiments became fully automated. Additionally, the new-generation of measuring and computing computer-controlled complex was put into operation. All this allowed almost completely automating T-109 tests, considerably increasing the cost efficiency of the facility and obtaining an improved quality of measurements.
The current stage of T-109 development deals with the modernization of its main technological elements that reach the end of their working life. As of now, the adjustable nozzle and the pitch and yaw control drives are upgraded. The completion of all the planned reconstruction works on T-109 will allow conducting high-tech experimental research of modern aircraft in the tunnel for years ahead.