100 years: The Gustav Eiffel Wind Tunnel

jun 26, 2012 No Comments by

In 2005 the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) included the Drop Machine (1903) for testing aerodynamic resistance of structural elements and the later built Wind Tunnel (1912) both designed by Gustav Eiffel in the list of Historical Mechanical Engineering Landmark. The inscription of the commemorative plaque on the building of the aerodynamic laboratory is:

Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) began aerodynamic testing by dropping various body shapes attached to a drop test machine guided by a vertical cable suspended from the Eiffel Tower. This machine measured and recorded the drag of the bodies and the drop velocity. It was the most advanced device of its type.Eiffel built his first wind tunnel beside the Tower in 1909. By testing the same bodies he had drop tested, Eiffel validated the concept of relative motion. The 1912 wind tunnel of Auteuil featured an open jet of air within a closed test chamber and introduced a downstream diffuser. This innovation, patented in 1912, improves the efficiency of the “Eiffel aerodynamic system” whose features were emulated in many later tunnels.
The Auteuil laboratory is the most complete early aeronautical laboratory in existence and still in operation.
ASME, 2005.

Since 2000 the wind tunnel laboratory is part of the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB). The photos of the wind tunnel have been taken on a technical tour during the 8th International Symposium on Cable Dynamics (8ISCD) in 2009 (credit H. Koss) and can be used for non-commercial purpose and with proper source referencing.


Aérodynamique Eiffel
67 rue Boileau
75016 Paris

Related Links:

ASME landmark #237 Drop Test Machine & Wind Tunnel

Aérodynamique Eiffel

Focus sur un équipement unique en France
The Gustav Eiffel Wind Tunnel in Paris France

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