New crash lab will be a smashing hit for WSU aviation research

 
  • The Advanced Virtual Engineering and Testing labs will enable the National Institute for Aviation Research to expand its work volume, hire more employees and provide more precise testing for its clients.
  • The new building will house multiple aviation research labs, including crash dynamics and virtual engineering.
  • New equipment includes a new crash sled, advanced computer spaces and a virtual reality room.

The crash dummies of Wichita State’s National Institute for Aviation Research have called the NIAR headquarters home for more than 25 years, but will soon pack their cotton stretch tees and size 11 loafers and move to the new Advanced Virtual Engineering and Testing Labs (AVET).

AVET, which is expected to open in early 2020, will house labs that are currently located in the Institute’s headquarters on Mid-Campus Drive.

The new space and equipment for the labs will enable the Institute to expand its work volume, hire more employees and provide more precise testing for its clients.

Crash dynamics’ defining feature is a “sled,” which is a metal platform atop a track braking system. The sled is impacted by a hydraulic piston and slows as it progresses down the track to a stop.

The impact tests the ability of a structure (most often an aircraft seat) to withstand stress and protect its passengers.

The lab’s current sled, installed in 2004, is past its intended lifetime, and is no longer supported by the manufacturer. When the sled inevitably requires repairs, the Institute must often make its own parts.

The new Instron Hydropuls CSAadvanced sled will reduce the transition time between test shots. The new facility will also feature additional client prep bays, which will allow multiple clients to be in the lab at the same time, while maintaining privacy during testing.

Both of these improvements will allow NIAR to increase the overall number of tests the lab can conduct daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.

The facility will also house NIAR’s world-renowned Virtual Engineering Lab with space for 40+ computer workstations, three collaboration rooms and secured areas for restricted projects.

Virtual Engineering works collaboratively with Crash Dynamics on most projects due to an increase in certification by analysis (virtual certification).

There will also be space for related technologies such as material/component testing and virtual reality.

AVET is under construction on the east side of the WSU main campus at 18th Street and Oliver. When it is complete, the Advanced Technology Laboratory for Aerospace Systems will occupy most of the space now occupied by the Crash Dynamics and Virtual Engineering Labs.


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