Hessert Laboratory for Aerospace Research expands facility

Author: William G. Gilroy

The University of Notre Dame’s Hessert Laboratory for Aerospace Research has added new laboratory space to its White Field facility.

The White Field facility opened in 2008 and was primarily designed to house three facilities: a 1750-horsepower, Mach 0.6 wind tunnel, a 400-horsepower transonic compressor facility and an 800-horsepower transonic turbine facility. A component of the University’s Center for Flow Physics and Control (FlowPac), the White Field Laboratory was designed to enhance the Notre Dame’s long history of aerospace research through the use of wind tunnels and other simulation equipment. It enables researchers to run experiments at high speeds, much closer to real flight conditions, including experiments preparing for the coming generations of ultra-efficient airplanes, including pilotless vehicles.

The new laboratory space includes five turbo-machine test cells, a Two-Phase Combustion Lab, a Hypersonic Combustion Lab and a Mach 6.0 low-disturbance wind tunnel. The expansion of the Hessert Laboratory at White Field was largely driven by the rapid growth of turbo-machine research at Notre Dame that has come through partnerships with General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell.

The White Field location also includes a Laboratory for Enhanced Wind Energy Research, titled “eWiND.” That research program is aimed at developing revolutionary designs that will involve “virtual aerodynamic shaping” for enhanced wind energy capture of wind turbines. The laboratory provides a research environment for multidisciplinary investigations including fluid dynamics, acoustics, fluid-structure interaction, design optimization, materials, failure modeling, system feedback and control and atmospheric turbulence.

The eWiND initiative is a key component of Notre Dame’s Strategic Research Investment program that has allocated $80 million of Notre Dame’s own money to advance the scope, excellence and visibility of its research enterprise.