Walter Bassett Aerodynamics Laboratory


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We are a world-leading fluid mechanics centre that conducts experimental research on turbulent boundary layers.

The Walter Bassett aerodynamics laboratory houses one of the largest purpose-built boundary layer facilities in the world – the High Reynolds Number Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel (HRNBLWT).

This world-leading leading facility enables us to probe turbulent boundary layers at very high Reynolds numbers, with unprecedented measurement resolution.

We partner with a wide range of clients, both nationally and internationally, to deliver our expertise in fluid mechanics.

As part of a project with Intellectual Ventures and Alcedo Systems, we developed a new technology for skin-friction drag reduction for aircraft and wind turbines. The discovery has the potential to considerably improve the efficiency of turbine blades for wind energy and reduce the CO₂ emissions for aircraft.

Our other past clients include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, AkzoNobel, Zobel International, Boeing Australia, the Defence Science Technology Group and General Electric Aviation.


The lab is fully equipped to the highest standards and features a range of facilities and resources, including:

  • Fully turbulent pipe and channel flow facilities
  • Surface scanning and heat transfer capabilities
  • A large closed return tunnel for model testing
  • A unique rotating wind-tunnel for investigating boundary layers with additional body forces
  • State-of-the-art anemometry, advanced laser-based diagnostics and supercomputing resources
  • A light-use CNC machine for in-house manufacture of models for aerodynamic testing.

Our state-of-the art measurement suites include:

  • Over 20 channels of hot-wire anemometry, full sensor manufacturing capability
  • Three complete multi-camera high-resolution PIV systems
  • Multi-channel pressure measurement and high-speed data acquisition systems.

For for further specs and details about the lab – you can visit the Walter Bassett aerodynamics laboratory site.

Contact us

Professor Nicholas Hutchins
Phone: +61 3 83443042

More information on this platform can be found on the Research Gateway, which is available to all University of Melbourne academic and honorary staff, graduate researchers and professional staff.  Please note, to access the Research Gateway, you will need to login with your University of Melbourne username and password.

First published on 15 March 2023.

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