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What were the key factors that made the wright brothers’ wind tunnel a useful tool for wing design?

Mindee Nelson

in Physics

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2 answers


Kathy Robinson on January 29, 2019

The research and engineering process the Wright brothers have used all those years ago is used even today by the leading NASA experts. Though the experimentation phase began in 1901, the research had started long before any of them could imagine the discovery they were going to make.

After the initial experiments with small wind tunnel models, Wilbur and Orville created a bigger device that is still one of the most important inventions in history. The Wright brothers used a unique system of balances to measure lift and drag. Later, the data was used in the equations of wings construction.

Today, even NASA experts use wind tunnels in their work, now in models of air- and spacecraft. The use of air tunnel simulates flight conditions. In the time when aerodynamics was still obscure, such simulation was a crucial factor for the successful launch of the first Flyer of the Wright brothers. In their search, the brothers built about 2 hundred wings of various materials and designs. And recording “flying” results was possible only with the help of their wind tunnel. So, you can say that without the mentioned tool, they would not conduct accurate experiments and come up with the ideal wing shape of the time and learn the basics of flying.  


Tara Andrews on May 3, 2018

The Wright brothers built a wind tunnel and developed model-testing techniques including a balance sheet to more accurately determine the lift and drag of their aircraft. I hope that my response has come to her for help. God bless you and have a nice day!


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