The facilities utilised for aerodynamics research can broadly be broken down into two categories; computational hardware for simulation and modelling work and experimental equipment for physical testing.
Much of the work carried out by the computational researchers within the group requires significant computational power, which is obtained from Multi-CPU clusters. Multi-CPU clusters allow 'parallel' codes to be run, i.e. large problems split and run over several CPUs simultaneously, but also allow scalar codes to be run with multiple data sets simultaneously, i.e. a 'scalar farm'. The group uses two main computational resources:
- Kittyhawk is the primary code development machine for the group. It comprises 120 2.2GHz Opteron CPUs running as a Linux cluster. The machine contains 60 dual processor nodes with 4Gbytes RAM each, and eight dual processor nodes with 8GBytes RAM each, all linked via Gbit/second ethernet switches.
- Bluecrystal, the University of Bristol's main supercomputing resource comprising 3400 cores and Infiniband interconnects producing 28.4 TFLOPS of processing power. More details on Bluecrystal are available from the Advanced Computing Research Centre homepage.
The group has access to a range of wind tunnel and other facilities operated by the Faculty of Engineering, these include:
- Large Low Speed Wind Tunnel: 2.1 m x 1.5 m octagonal section; maximum speed 60 m/s; main uses: aerodynamics of aircraft, missiles, propellors, rotors and cars. Also, return section, 5.5 m x 2.6 m, maximum speed 12 m/s; main uses: rotor studies.
- Low Turbulence Wind Tunnel: 0.8 m x 0.6 m octagonal section; maximum speed 100 m/s; turbulence level 0.05%; main uses: fundamental fluid mechanics and aerodynamics.
- Open Jet Wind Tunnel: 1.1 m diameter; maximum speed 40m/s; main uses: aerofoil characteristics, vibration and oscillation studies.
- Open Return Low Speed Tunnels (2): 0.6 m x 0.6 m working section; maximum speed approx. 35 m/s; main uses: teaching and student projects.
- DANTEC 3D Laser Doppler Anemometer: Fibre-optic linked 5W argon-ion laser, 600 mm or 1600 mm focal length; high precision 3-axis traverse; processing by 3 Burst Spectrum Analysers.
- Miscellaneous equipment typically associated with aerodynamic test facilities
Additionally the itself group holds a variety of equipment such as the EMEGG used for rocket nozzle testing.