NASA dedicates new facility

NASA Dedicates new Facility Hampton, Virginia, February 3, 1998 Today the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center dedicated its new Structural Acoustics Load and Transmission (SALT) facility. SALT...

NASA Dedicates new Facility

Hampton, Virginia, February 3, 1998

Today the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center dedicated its new Structural Acoustics Load and Transmission (SALT) facility. SALT consists of a 10,000 cubic foot anechoic chamber adjacent to (but isolated from) a similarly sized reverberation chamber. The facility is operated by the Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics Division. SALT is designed to test fatigue and acoustical properties of new aerospace structural materials. These materials have found widespread use in modern racing vehicles and are beginning to appear in high performance street automobiles. SALT was designed so that it could accomodate a future aeroacoustic wind tunnel, with a test section in either the anechoic or reverberant chamber. The dedication was presided over by Dr. Richard Silcox, Assistant Head of the Structural Acoustics Branch. The facility is the culmination of a goal conceived in 1990.

In an exclusive interview with MNI, Dr. David Stephens, director of the Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics Division, pointed out that the work his division does on aircraft aeroacoustics has direct application to the automotive world. Studies of aircraft interior noise are currently making use of sound quality (not how loud it is, but how pleasant/unpleasant it sounds), technology which had much of its development in the automotive industry. The high standard of acoustics in today's luxury cars draws considerably on aeroacoustics research of the type done at Langley.

Modern race car aerodynamics owes a substantial debt to the NASA Langley Research Center. Founded in 1917 as the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, it was the United States's first civil aeronautical laboratory. "NACA ducts" are a familiar sight whenever a race car needs to draw air in without a scoop protruding into the airstream. High lift wings, turned upside down on race cars, have their roots in airfoil work pioneered at Langley. The "supersonic area rule", which was successfully applied to the Thrust SSC land speed record car, was invented at Langley in the 1950s when military aircraft were having difficulty getting past the sound barrier.

Ken Plotkin Motorsport News International

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