Aeronautics research

The low-speed wind tunnel
The low-speed wind tunnel at Braunschweig
Image 1/13, Credit: DNW.

The low-speed wind tunnel at Braunschweig

On 2 December 2010, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) opened the world's most powerful aero-acoustic wind tunnel in collaboration with German-Dutch Wind Tunnels (Deutsch-Niederländische Windkanäle; DNW). Scientists use wind tunnels to investigate the aero-acoustic properties of objects such as aircraft engines and wings. Not only is the Braunschweig wind tunnel one of the most powerful of its kind, but also it is so versatile that it can be used for cars as well as planes. This presents new possibilities in which to record and reduce sources of noise pollution.

Air intake chamber
Taking care of turbulence
Image 2/13, Credit: DAAD / Lannert.

Taking care of turbulence

What looks like a wind tunnel is actually an air intake chamber. Engine researchers use the 16-metre-long, eight metre- diameter enclosure to remove turbulence from air before it reaches the compressor of an engine during testing. This allows them to achieve optimal and repeatable conditions for their experiments.

Fans and compressors are important research topics at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology by reason of the great influence they exert on the performance of engines and their noise emissions. The researchers are working on new designs for axial and radial compressors, and verifying their multidisciplinary development techniques using prototypes. The multi-shaft compressor test facility, shown in this image being prepared for a test, is essential for this process.

Hot gas microphone probes in a helicopter engine
Hot gas microphone probes in a helicopter engine
Image 3/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Hot gas microphone probes in a helicopter engine

For the measurement campaign, a series of microphones were positioned at various places inside the engine and around the exhaust area and recording their signals simultaneously. These signals formed the basis for the acoustic field analysis.

Fan blades on the DLR test system
Fan blades on the DLR test system
Image 4/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Fan blades on the DLR test system

The fan blades on the Ultra High Bypass Ratio (UHBR) test system at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology.

High-speed helicopter RACER
High-speed helicopter RACER
Image 5/13, Credit: Airbus Helicopters-PAD.

High-speed helicopter RACER

The new helicopter model of Airbus Helicopters can fly at speeds of up to 400 kilometres per hour thanks to DLR research.

Computer-assisted flow simulation
Computer-assisted flow simulation
Image 6/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Computer-assisted flow simulation

DLR is playing a key role in the aerodynamic design of the wings and the tail plane of the RACER high-speed helicopter.

Virtualisation of an aircraft
Digitalisation and virtualisation in aviation
Image 7/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Digitalisation and virtualisation in aviation

The new DLR Institute of Software Methods for Product Virtualisation in Dresden will pool the skills required to undertake the first complete virtual aircraft flight in the long term.

The 'Freespace Experimental Laser Terminal II'
The 'Freespace Experimental Laser Terminal II'
Image 8/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

The 'Freespace Experimental Laser Terminal II'

Attached to the underside of DLR’s Dornier Do 228-212 research plane – the ‘Freespace Experimental Laser Terminal II’ for data communications between the aircraft and the ground. Numerous measurements were taken with the system. The relevant properties of the atmosphere were determined in order to optimise the data transmission systems.

Four-passenger fuel cell aircraft
First flight of four-passenger fuel cell aircraft
Image 9/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

First flight of four-passenger fuel cell aircraft

In September 2016, HY4, the first four-seater passenger aircraft powered solely by a fuel cell system, embarked on its first flight from Stuttgart airport.

HALO research aircraft in flight
HALO research aircraft
Image 10/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

HALO research aircraft

The HALO (High Altitude and LOng Range) research aircraft is based on the ultra-long-range G 550 business jet produced by Gulfstream Aerospace. With a range of more than 8000 kilometres, measurements on the scale of continents are possible; the research aircraft can reach all regions, from the poles to the tropics, and remote areas of the Pacific Ocean.

DLR research aircraft Falcon
DLR research aircraft Falcon
Image 11/13, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

DLR research aircraft Falcon

The Falcon is the only research aircraft in Europe that is legally able to fly at high altitudes and over long distances in volcanic ash clouds.

DLR ATRA research aircraft in flight
DLR ATRA research aircraft
Image 12/13, Credit: DLR/Evi Blink (CC-BY 3.0).

DLR ATRA research aircraft

The Airbus A320-232 'D-ATRA' (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) is the largest member of the DLR research fleet.

Two planes in flight
Joint research flights over Germany
Image 13/13, Credit: DLR/NASA/Friz.

Joint research flights over Germany

NASA’s ‘airborne laboratory’ flies close behind the DLR A320 Advanced Technology Research Aircraft (ATRA), flying through the Airbus’ exhaust plume. On board, scientists measure the composition of the exhaust stream and analyse the effects of biofuels like HEFA on the formation of soot particles and ice crystals.

DLR develops solutions for current and next generations of technology. With its research expertise in the overall air transport system, DLR is pursuing the goal of designing well-founded proposals for the generation after next and thus opening up new perspectives for aviation

Media items

  • The low-speed wind tunnel

    The low-speed wind tunnel at Braunschweig

    Credit: DNW.  |  Download
    On 2 December 2010, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) opened the world's most powerful aero-acoustic wind tunnel in collaboration with German-Dutch Wind Tunnels (Deutsch-Niederländische Windkanäle; DNW). Scientists use wind tunnels to investigate the aero-acoustic properties of objects such as aircraft engines and wings. Not only is the Braunschweig wind tunnel one of the most powerful of its kind, but also it is so versatile that it can be used for cars as well as planes. This presents new possibilities in which to record and reduce sources of noise pollution.
  • Air intake chamber

    Taking care of turbulence

    Credit: DAAD / Lannert.  |  Download
    What looks like a wind tunnel is actually an air intake chamber. Engine researchers use the 16-metre-long, eight metre- diameter enclosure to remove turbulence from air before it reaches the compressor of an engine during testing. This allows them to achieve optimal and repeatable conditions for their experiments.Fans and compressors are important research topics at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology by reason of the great influence they exert on the performance of engines and their noise emissions. The researchers are working on new designs for axial and radial compressors, and verifying their multidisciplinary development techniques using prototypes. The multi-shaft compressor test facility, shown in this image being prepared for a test, is essential for this process.

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