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Program where high school students build a small sub-sonic wind tunnel to use in the classroom to visually demonstrate aeronautical principals which further advance the students level of understanding in the areas of math and science. The program is sponsored by NASA Glenn Research Center.

After an initial meeting held on June 5, 1995 it was decided that students from the General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. High School with funding provided from NASA High Performance Computing and Communications(HPCC)/Information Infrastructure Technology Applications(IITA) K-12 Program and the Ohio Space Grant Consortium would construct a high tech model wind tunnel. The focus of this effort would be to use the wind tunnel construction, operation, and experimentation activities to inspire students to explore the world of mathematics and science by utilizing HPCC/IITA and aerodynamic formulae.

The General Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Aviation High School is located in the City of Cleveland, Ohio and is part of the Cleveland City School District. The Cleveland City Schools serve 74,000 students. The Davis Aviation High School is one of 19 high schools in the district and serves approximately 300 students preparing them for careers in a variety of aviation disciplines. The Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Aviation High School reflects the cultural diversity of the Cleveland Public School District and the community and is interested in promoting women and minority interest in aeronautics.

The wind tunnel project has a design/construction team comprised of 14 students (10 males and 4 females) representing a culturally diverse team of African-Americans, Asian, Caucasians, and Hispanics. The team began its project by visiting NASA Glenn Research Center to obtain first-hand knowledge of wind tunnel operation and attended sessions at the Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI) for development and design brainstorming sessions facilitated by NASA research engineers.

Ten of the students volunteered their time during the summer of 1995 to construct a 26' long wind tunnel with a 5'x5' inlet and a 18"x18" viewing area. Several NASA engineers have provided technical and design support during the construction process.

The entire student body of General Benjamin O. Davis Jr. High School, will be impacted by this project. Students of the surrounding communities will visit our site and use the internet to send data retrieved to remote locations. Data transfer and video conference techniques make the geography between sites transparent.

Data acquisition will be accomplished by the use of instrumentation of "pressure transducers" sending signals to an analog/digital converter. The computer will also be used to control the speed of the wind tunnel motor. This idea was generated by one of the students working on the project.

The use of computer and data acquisiton systems to retrieve information to incorporate into mathematical formulae gives a real life meaning to complex principles by allowing students to visualize abstract theories.

Desired Outcomes

  1. Create a positive experience in hands-on aerospace research.
  2. Illustrate the practical need for teamwork, planning and scheduling.
  3. Require product development or product analysis within a fixed price.
  4. Provide opportunities to enhance communication and presentation skills through interim reviews.
  5. Build working models that can interface with existing computer platforms for data acquisition, processing and analysis tasks.
  6. Leverage computer platform experience as an introduction to advanced computing platforms/hardware.
  7. Build positive awareness of Aeronautics and NASA in the surrounding community.

Long-Term Wind Tunnel Project Goals

  1. Students will expand their resource and inter-school horizons through Internet and HPCC.
  2. Students experience science, math, and design through hands-on creative problem-solving activities.
  3. Students build intra-school teamwork, communication, and project management skills through team projects.

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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: May 13 2021

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