The craftsmanship of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) machine shop at Wichita State University (WSU) will be showcased this evening in an episode of a new series on the Discovery Channel.
This week's episode of "Investigation X" is called "UFO Outbreak." The hour-long episode is to be a “forensic investigation of the mass UFO sightings in Stephenville, TX; Kokomo, IN; and Southwick, MA.”
The Discovery Channel’s production company visited WSU in September to film in NIAR’s Research Machine Shop and the Department of Aerospace Engineering’s 4x4-inch supersonic wind tunnel. Two models, designed by Charlie Cook of Digital Ranch, created by Jonas Fink of the NIAR CAD/CAM Lab and machined by Mark Murrell, took shape in the shop’s HAAS VF-4 5-axis vertical machining center.
The two models — an aluminum UFO-like disc and a stainless steel fighter aircraft — were then tested for their aerodynamic properties at speeds of about Mach 2 in the supersonic tunnel.
WSU graduate student Armin Ghoddoussi performed the wind tunnel testing, including setup of the color Schlieren system.
“They wanted to compare the shock structure off of a disc and a generic fighter to see if it was possible that the disc passed through air with significantly different characteristics,” said NIAR/WSU research scientist Eddie Irani, who worked initially with Cook to help define the problem and purpose of the models.
The episode will air at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.
In fiscal year 2009, Wichita State had $50 million in aeronautical R&D expenditures, compared to $32.9 million in 2008.
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