Boeing engineers use a variety of techniques to test concepts – including water. A recent flow visualization test, conducted in Boeing’s water tunnel in Huntington Beach, proved that new aft cargo door concept for the BWB is a viable design. With the aft clamshell cargo door feature, the blended wing body can make smooth cargo and paratrooper drops.
The flow visualization water tunnel is a rapid learning tool for aircraft concept design that is cheaper and quicker than a traditional wind tunnel test. 3-D printed small scale concept models made with dye ports are connected to dye streams and placed in the water tunnel. Once in the tank, water circulates, simulating air flow and creating visible streams of colored dye from the model to show how the air would flow over the full sized airplane.