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ALFA Laboratory

Aerodynamics research and didactics facility

Laboratory Description

ALFA, the aerodynamics research and didactics facility of the Centre for Aviation is a low speed wind tunnel designed to test the aerodynamic characteristics of models in exactly controlled conditions. In its test section, which is 1.2 m long, 0.9 m wide and 0.6 m high, airspeeds between 5 and 50 m/s can be achieved.

Technical Data


The ALFA facility is used for research, didactics and industry services. It is also possible for external parties to rent the wind tunnel; the centre for aviation offers a wide spectrum of services, from simply operating the tunnel to assuming complete responsibility for a measurement project.

Didactic elliptic wing model

 An elliptic wing model is used in laboratory exercises and student projects in the NEA (Numerical and Experimental Aerodynamics) course, which is offered to Aviation and Mechanical Engineering students. The students can measure aerodynamic forces and moments and pressure distributions over the wing as a function of angle of attack and of sideslip and gain a basic understanding of the principles of wind tunnel testing.

Student project: rudder hinge moment measurement

Student: Felix Rubin

Supervisors: Prof. Leonardo Manfriani, Dr. Marcello Righi

Scope of this project was to measure the hinge moments of an aircraft rudder as a function of rudder deflection and of sideslip angle. A wind tunnel model representing the vertical tail of a trainer aircraft was designed and built to this purpose; the data served to validate a CFD simulation.


Building the wind tunnel

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