Celebrating the renovation and historical significance of the Dryden Wind Tunnel

April 20, 2023

The Dryden Wind Tunnel (DWT) is central to AME’s expertise in experimental aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. Originally constructed in the 1930s and brought to USC in 1975, the wind tunnel is considered among the best of its kind at a university, producing excellent air flow qualities from air speeds of 2 to 35 meters per second (4.5 to 78 miles per hour.) Together with the Blue Water Channel, the DWT forms what has come to be known as the “Fabulous Fluids Facility” – a world-class hub of innovation, hidden within the Rapp Research Building on campus.


The recent renovation of the project called for a major celebration, and the ribbon cutting ceremony on April 20 was attended by faculty, students, and industry professionals.


“New fabrication techniques and new configurations are continually driving a broad array of fascinating fluids problems, and the renovation is part of the movement towards combined, computer-controlled experiments, models and simulations,” said Professor Geoffrey Spedding, who was instrumental in driving the renovation project along with Professor Alejandra Uranga and Professor Mitul Luhar. The renovation of the wind tunnel has led to an upgraded main drive motor and control system, in addition to three new swappable test sections The objective is to increase reliability and throughput, while maintaining the top flow quality.


“The Dryden Wind Tunnel is a piece of history where many of the seminal experiments on aerodynamics were performed,” said Professor Paul Ronney, Chair of AME. “Since professor John Laufer arranged for the wind tunnel to be moved to USC, several faculty members and countless generations of students started their careers around the facility and subsequently flourished. Today it is still a workhorse facility where new discoveries in low-speed aerodynamics are being made, with applications to sustainable aviation, urban air transportation, drone delivery systems and micro air vehicles for surveillance and communication.”


Learn more about the Dryden Wind Tunnel here.

Published on April 20th, 2023

Last updated on April 20th, 2023