Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Tianshu Liu

Second Advisor

Bade Shrestha


Fluid flow around rotating objects is mathematically complex and there is currently limited experimental data on the subject. To make Western Michigan University capable of this research, a rotating wind tunnel mount was developed. The mount design was integrated into the existing setup at the Applied Aerodynamics Laboratory (AAL) to allow seamless transitions between different research projects. Non-rotating and rotating disk prototypes were created from 3D-printed materials to test the mount’s capabilities. Experimental data gathered from utilizing this rotating mount was analyzed to understand the aerodynamic effects on rotating disks in a fluid stream. From testing the rotating disk prototype at 15 m-s-1, with a disk rim to airspeed ratio of 1, and at angles of attack between 0 and 7.5 degrees, it was found that the rotation of the disk increased drag and reduced lift. While this may be due to the lack of precision in the design and data gathering, this result directly opposes studies suggesting that rotating disks in a fluid stream may reduce drag and increase lift (Nakamura, 1991). Further testing is recommended to ensure the validity of this data, as there is uncertainty on the aerodynamic effects from the mount itself and the unsteady motion caused by the imperfections in the fitment of the shaft. There is also uncertainty on the effects from the non-symmetric local velocity distribution along the surface of the rotating disk due to single-axis force measurements.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access