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Hypersonic Facilities

Hypersonic Facilities

The group has three world-class, high-speed wind tunnels, capable of producing flow from supersonic to hypersonic and all the way to hypervelocity:




P0 [MPa] 

T0 [K] 

Test time [ms] 

T6 Stalker Tunnel 

Multi-mode Facility 





High Density Tunnel 

Ludwieg / LICH 





Low Density Tunnel 

Suck down 






The facilities are part of the National Wind Tunnel Facility. This offers a minimum of 25% access of the tunnels and instrumentation to outside parties (academic or commercial).

Hypersonics Facility
T6 Stalker Tunnel
High Density Tunnel
Low Density Tunnel
Hypersonics Facility

Hypersonics Facility

T6 Stalker Tunnel
Schematic of the T6 Stalker Tunnel in Reflected Shock tunnel mode

T6 Stalker Tunnel

The T6 Stalker Tunnel (T6) is Europe’s highest speed wind tunnel, capable of producing flows in excess of 20 km/s. It is a multi-mode facility, capable of operation either as reflected shock tunnel, an expansion tunnel or a shock tube. The facility is driven by the T3 free piston driver, designed by the late Prof. Ray Stalker, being one of the most powerful created in the world. The facility was developed by the University of Oxford (McGilvray and Doherty) in collaboration with the University of Queensland (Morgan and Gildfind).

T6 Stalker Tunnel specifications in different modes of operation:


Reflected Shock Tunnel 

Expansion Tunnel 

Shock Tube 

Testing type 

Subscale model 

Subscale model 

Shock layer radiation 

Test duration 

1-3 ms 

50-500 μs 

2-50 μs 

Flow core diameter 

150-200 mm 

50-120 mm 

80 or 250 mm 

Max flow speed 

6.5 km/s 

12 km/s 

18 or 9 km/s 


  • Free piston driver
    • 9.5 m long, 300 mm dia. driver
    • 250 MPa max pressure (cap at 75 MPa)
    • Driven 1 & Driven 2 tubes
      • 8.65 m long, 96.3 mm dia. shock tube
      • Connections at 2.75 m, 7 m from P.D.
      • Max 100 MPa (cap at 75 MPa, nominally Copper electroplated at throat
      • Mach 7 and 8 contoured nozzles for reflected shock tunnel mode
      • Aluminium Shock Tube
        • 7 m long, 250 mm dia. shock tube
        • Couples via expansion nozzle to Driven 1 tube
      • Actuated traverse +/- 15 deg AoA. +/- 5 deg AoY
High Density Tunnel
Schematic of the High Density Tunnel (HDT)

High Density Tunnel

The High Density Tunnel (HDT) is a reconfigured and upgraded facility from the original RAE shock tube, acquired by the University of Oxford in 2012. It operates either as a Ludwieg tunnel or a Light Piston Compression Heating facility, producing cold hypersonic flow conditions with test times long enough to investigate unsteady flow effects.


  • Cold hypersonic flow facility for steady and unsteady aerothermodynamic testing
  • Test durations up to 70 ms
  • 6.5 m long, 152 mm diameter driver
  • 17.4 m long, 152 mm diameter barrel
  • Mach 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 contoured nozzles
  • Actuated traverse +/- 15 deg AoA. +/- 5 deg AoY
Low Density Tunnel

Low Density Tunnel

The Low Density Tunnel (LDT) is rarefied flow facility, with the ability to produce flows with high Knudsen numbers representative of those experienced in the slip regime.

The facility is continuous and is capable of measuring aerodynamic coefficients by use of a magnetic suspension balance.

Full details