Prototype Development

The team of engineers at ARA are highly experienced in developing and using prototypes, including both digital and physical models, to deliver advanced simulations and experimental measurements to world class standards.

All of our services and facilities are available for use in prototype development activities whether it is conducting a theoretical analysis, running a computer simulation, or creating and testing a real, physical system or item of equipment.

We have an excellent supplier network across the UK and EU with superb capabilities – all of which are available to our clients.

ARA has an enviable track record developing prototypes for the most demanding applications – some examples we can share include:

  • Our gust rig, the only one of its kind in the world, uses controlled air blades to instantaneously simulate vertical wind shear in our transonic wind tunnel. This equipment was conceived, designed, manufactured, and commissioned by ARA and has been used in multiple successful tests for international aerospace clients.
  • Our dual stream jet propulsion rig uses two independently controlled streams of air to simulate the nozzle exhaust for next generation jet engines. Uniquely, this rig is designed not only for use in static testing but also for wind tunnel testing. Our launch customer for this rig was Rolls-Royce.
  • We created a wind tunnel model to explore novel designs for jet engine intakes using boundary layer ingestion. This required the development of compact, densely instrumented engine simulators which could both create thrust using jets of high pressure air and measure the pressure field across the engine intake. In collaboration with one of our partners, APWorks, we designed and manufactured complex, single component structures required at the heart of the engines using advanced additive manufacture techniques which were then tested successfully in our transonic wind tunnel.
  • We created a digital and physical engineering model of a jet engine with a thrust reverser cascade to create a toolkit which could help design the thrust reversers for the next generation of more compact jet engines. The complex geometries involved required superb standards of computational modelling as well as additive manufacture techniques for the physical wind tunnel model. The combined computational and physical experiments successfully validated the tools which ARA developed and provides a strong foundation for the next phase of research in this field.
  • An in-house team of aeronautical engineers developed a design for a modern fighter aircraft which has been tested successfully in ARA’s transonic wind tunnel. The engineering team used their understanding of aerodynamics to create a concept design which they refined using the latest computer simulation techniques. Once finished, the design was turned into a wind tunnel model which was manufactured, instrumented and tested using ARA’s onsite facilities.

ARA has a powerful, complementary set of capabilities and we can have confidence in the quality of service we provide because we use these capabilities and services ourselves for our clients using our facilities for applications where world class standards are demanded and where failure has serious financial and reputational consequences.

Case studies that use these services