Advances in turbine-based engine efficiency and reliability are achieved through better knowledge of the mechanical interaction with the flow. The life-limiting component of a modern gas turbine engine is the high-pressure (HP) turbine stage due to the arduous environment. For the same reason, real gas turbine engine operation prevents fundamental research. Various types of experimental approaches have been developed to study the flow and in particular the heat transfer, cooling, materials, aero-elastic issues and forced response in turbines. Over the last 30 years short duration facilities have dominated the research in the study of turbine heat transfer and cooling.
Two decades after the development of the von Karman Institute compression tube facility (built in the 90s), one could reconsider the design choices in view of the modern technology in compression, heating, control and electronics. The present paper provides first the history of the development and then how the wind tunnel is operated. Additionally the paper disseminates the experience and best practices in specifically designed measurement techniques to both experimentalists and experts in data processing. The final section overviews the turbine research capabilities, providing details on the required upgrades to the test section.