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Water Tunnels


Water Tunnels have been utilized in one form or another to explore fluid mechanics and aerodynamic phenomena since the days of Leonardo da Vinci. Only in recent years, however, have Water Tunnels been recognized as highly useful facilities for critical evaluation of complex flow fields on many modern vehicles such as high performance aircraft.


In particular, Water Tunnels have filled a unique role as research facilities for understanding the complex flows dominated by vortices and vortex interactions. Flow visualization in Water Tunnels provides an excellent means for detailed observation of the flow around a wide variety of configurations. Perhaps the most valuable feature is the ability to simultaneously measure forces and observe the flow visualization. The free stream flow and the flow field dynamics are low-speed, allowing real time visual assessment of the flow patterns using a number of techniques, including dye flow through ports in the model, hydrogen bubble generation from strategic locations on the model, or laser light sheet illumination.


Comparison Between Water Tunnel and Wind Tunnel Flows

Comparison of flow visualization in a water and wind tunnel experiment on a common model show nearly identical vortex flow patterns, clearly illustrating that Water Tunnel observations have direct application to aerodynamics.


Water Tunnel Models

Rolling Hills Research Corporation offers three Water Tunnel models in its Eidetics product line. The water tunnel kits include a detailed set of assembly instructions and a videotape showing every step of the assembly process.


You can now download a description of RHRC's Research Water Tunnels, or the University Desktop Water Tunnel in Adobe Acrobat format.


For additional  information or pricing, email 

or call (310) 640-8781 ext. 22.


Model 2436 has a 24x36x72 inch test section and is available as a fully assembled and installed system or as a kit.
Model 1520 has a 15x20x60 inch test section and is available as either an assembled and installed system or as a kit

Model 0710 has a 7x10x18 inch test section. It was specifically designed as an affordable teaching tool for High Schools and Universities while still retaining many of the world-class features of RHRC's larger research water tunnels.



If the standard water tunnel configurations don't meet your requirements, RHRC can also produce custom water tunnels to meet your specifications



Some of the important available features of the Water Tunnels include:

  • Variable speed, nominal maximum of 1 ft/sec (5 in/s for Model 0710)

  • Horizontal glass-walled test section

  • Cross-flow plane viewing window

  • Remotely-controlled 3-axis dynamic model support system

  • 3 or 6-color pressurized dye system

  • 5-component force/moment balance (optional)

RHRC offers a series of prepared experiments that demonstrate basic fluid dynamic concepts. Each experiment comes with the necessary model, installation instructions, and an explanation of the underlying fluid dynamic theory including the important items to observe during the experiment. In addition to these experiments, RHRC also produces custom models to the customer's specifications.


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