Aerodynamics LabThe Wind Tunnel Laboratory allows experimentation and investigation of air flow (i.e., aerodynamics) and is therefore a valuable resource for engineering project testing, fluid mechanics coursework and alternative energy courses.

The centerpiece of the Wind Tunnel Laboratory is a 33 foot long wind tunnel featuring a 50 hp motor capable of producing air velocities between 1 and 90 m/s (2 to 200 mph) in a test section that is 18 inches long, 12 inches tall, and 12 inches wide.  The laboratory specifically focuses on air flow (i.e., aerodynamics) experiments and is therefore a valuable resource for fluid mechanics, alternative energy (e.g., wind turbines and blades), and even studies pertaining to wind flow around building structures.

Various instrumentation supports experimentation in the wind tunnel, including a two-component dynamometer (lift and drag) with digital force display, a velocity meter, smoke generator with long wand, x-y traversing boundary layer and Pitot-static tube probes, a 10 port pressure transducer, A/D readout meter display with signal conditioners, and a calibration set.

Standardized test models are available for specific experiments.  These include two standard airfoils types with adjustable angle of attack for measuring lift and drag, or alternately stall and wake measurements can be investigated.  Two standard airfoils with multiple pressure taps are available to investigate boundary layer effects.  For investigating boundary layers, drag, pressure distribution, and wake properties, a boundary layer plate, pressure cylinder, smooth sphere, roughened sphere, chamfered disk, cup, and hemisphere are available.  Other models for aerodynamic study can be produced on Lawrence Tech’s 3-D printer.

The wind tunnel is fully capable to perform any typical undergraduate engineer laboratory experiments, but is also capable of more demanding tests performed by senior project students (e.g., SAE Aero Design team) or graduate students. 

In detail, the Wind Tunnel Laboratory contains the following equipment:

  • Engineering Laboratory Design Inc. 18” Test Section Wind Tunnel Model 404 with 50 hp Motor.

ELD instrumentation:

  • Readout-Metering Assembly, with + 10 VDC, 3 ¾ inch digit LED output.  Includes analog outputs and provides displayed output for the instrumentation.
  • 10" WG Differential Pressure Transducer installed in meter, with 10 port selector valve.
  • Two component dynamometer (lift: 8 lbsf (35.67N), drag: 5 lbsf (22.25N)).  Includes appropriate signal conditioning cards.
  • X-Y Traversing Mechanism with interchangeable boundary layer probe and Pitot-static tube. Arranged for standard ELD test section cover.
  • Removable Ceiling Panel for Mounting X-Y Traversing Mechanism fitted with quick release fasteners and handle stiffeners.

ELD Test Models

  • NACA 0012 and 4412 airfoils with sting for use with dynamometer.  4" (10.2cm) cord, -5° to +20° angle of attack adjustment.
  • NACA 0012 and 4412 airfoils with pressure taps, -30° to +30° angle of attack adjustment.  4" (10.2cm) cord, 9 precision taps.
  • Flat plate for boundary layer study. 12.0" (30.5cm) X 17.5" (44.45cm).  Aluminum tooling plate with precision knife edge.
  • Cylinder for pressure distribution study, 1.5" (3.81cm) diameter brass.
  • Drag model set consisting of 1.5" (3.81cm) diameter bodies with sting:  smooth sphere, roughened sphere, chamfered disk, cup, and hemisphere.

ELD Calibration Equipment

  • U-tube manometer.  1 ½” diameter, 12” columns with English or SI marked scale and anti-parallax back panel.
  • Stainless steel calibration weight set and calibration fixture.
  • Linear calibration scale, inch or SI units.

Other instrumentation

  • AeroLab Smoke Generator System with long wand.
  • Dwyer Instruments Smart Air Velocity Transmitter, range 0-15,000 sfpm, with display.
  • Dwyer Instruments Air Velocity Transmitter Windows software and connecting cable.


Formula Workshop Formula SAE Workshop

The Formula SAE lab is designated to build the Formula SAE competition vehicles. In addition to all the basic workshop tools, the lab boasts welding and layout tables, a drill press, a welder, SolidWorks CAD workstations, a chassis dynamometer, a shock dynamometer, and a flow bench. An engine dynamometer test cell equipped with a brand new dynamometer is also housed in the lab. These tools allow students to design and build a complete vehicle from the ground up.  The open-wheel cars built in the lab can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds and can reach speeds of 120 mph. Students from various levels, starting from freshmen all the way to graduate students, join the team and participate in the experience.

Baja Workshop Baja SAE Workshop

The Baja SAE Laboratory is the center of LTU’s Baja SAE vehicle design and fabrication project. The Baja SAE competition provides an opportunity for engineering students from all over the world to design, fabricate and compete in all-terrain vehicles. The object of the competition is to provide SAE student members with a challenging project that involves real-world planning and manufacturing tasks encountered when introducing a new product to a consumer market. Teams compete against one another to have their design evaluated for manufacturability, design and performance. Students must function as a team to not only conceptualize, design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities.

Hybrid Workshop SAE Hybrid Electric Vehicle Workshop

Lawrence Tech is building SAE Hybrid Electric vehicles for the competitions held in May.  Lawrence Tech competes in this event annually and the many things learned from building previous competition vehicles are incorporated into the new vehicles. The lab houses the newly welded-up chassis and electric generator, the electric motors with the gasoline engine and lithium ion batteries. Because this vehicle has sophisticated electronic controls for both the electric generator and the lithium-ion battery energy storage system, an electronics fabrication room is available for review. The vehicle is fully designed in CAD and those CAD graphics are available for review. Various system testing stations are also available for review.

SAE Aero Design Workshop SAE Aero Design Workshop 

The Aero Design Laboratory is the dedicated workspace for the SAE Aero Design competition students. Any student, from freshman through graduate students, can join the team and be a part of the yearly competition. The SAE Aero Design Competition challenges engineering students from around the world to design, build, test, and fly a radio controlled heavy lift cargo airplane.  Given a set of constraints, the goal is to airlift the most weight possible.  Some of the constraints include dimensional limits, a specified standard unmodified engine, to take off within a given distance, to land within a specified distance, and a minimum specified cargo bay area. The laboratory contains all the tools necessary to design and build the airplane.



Particle Image Velocimetry LaboratoryParticle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is a laser-based imaging technique that combines the accuracy of non-intrusive point measurements with the global flow imaging capability of flow visualization to obtain   velocity information over an extended region of the flow. The system in the lab consists of a high speed camera, Nd:YAG 60 mJ/pulse laser, adjustable light-sheet optics, synchronizer, and a dual quad core Intel Xeon processor desktop computer.  Images are processed with Insight software using a cross-correlation technique. A hydraulic optical bench is available to minimize vibration.


The Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory is designed to support teaching and research in the automotive engineering field. The major piece of equipment is a 4x4 vehicle chassis dynamometer with individual torque control of each of the four rolls. This state-of-the-art dynamometer is used for all-wheel drive vehicle performance tests, fuel economy improvements, acceleration performance analysis, stability evaluation, durability and diagnostic tests, safety related experiments, and NVH structure developments.

Four-Wheel Drive Chassis Dynamometer

  • Unique 4x4 vehicle chassis dynamometer with individual wheel torque electronic controls of one, two, three, or all four drive wheels and speed capability of up to 100 mph.
  • Four individual wheel power absorbers with 175 HP per wheel capability for continuous operation and up to 350 HP intermittently.
  • Adjustable 89-135 inch wheelbase with an extension up to 175 inches. vehicle performance: open and limited slip differentials, locking differentials, viscous drive, traction control, and other mechanical and mechatronic driveline systems.
  • Research wheel power balance to improve tire design.
  • Research in these areas and more:
  • Durability
  • Stability
  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • Safety
  • Emissions
  • NVH