Carleton University has a water channel in which Reynolds number flows about 15 times larger than what we are able to study in similarly sized wind tunnels are examined. A colored dye system is used for flow visualization.
The water channel has been utilized for a wide range of aerospace related applications, including the study of high angle of attack flows dominated by flow separation, and rotary-wing wake analysis. High angle of attack flows occur when an aircraft wing is strongly inclined to the direction of air flow – such as in the case of an aircraft stall. Rotary wing analysis is used to study the vortices shed off the tips of rotating helicopter blades when in flight.
Using water flow instead of air flow when conducting tests allows for accurate testing of small scale models (15 x smaller). Flow visualization within the water channel helps researchers understand air flow behaviour without having to use a large wind tunnel.