Ty Nygaard

Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Forrest Ames


This thesis documents the design, construction, and functionality of a large-scale wind tunnel designed to test and investigate losses of full size and scaled UAV propellers and rotors. The wind tunnel has been developed as an open circuit wind tunnel but will later be converted to a closed-circuit wind tunnel. A computational model of the wind tunnel was developed to help assess issues related to the 180 degree turns at both the inlet and exit diffuser and the associated losses and flow distortion. Results from analytical solutions and the computational model have been compared against one another and indicate sufficient agreement. The wind tunnel is composed of major components which are the flow conditioning, inlet contraction, test section, test cart, propeller test stand, traversing section, fan assembly, and multi-vane diffuser and have all been described in detail. The propeller test stand is used to acquire propeller thrust as well as mechanical power which is described as well as other approaches to document propeller performance.