As one of the world’s leading suppliers of strain gauge balances, ARA has an on-going research and development program to ensure that we are using the latest technology to maintain the high standards expected by our customers. All aspects of balance technology are covered by this program, including balance design, material, strain gauge technology and the balance calibration processes.
One successful outcome of this program has been the evolution of new designs for balances used for high accuracy drag measurements on commercial aircraft. ARA has been successful in the production of a balance design that is effectively totally insensitive to temperature drift throughout the range of temperatures generated during wind tunnel testing. Central to this achievement has been:
- Use of finite element structural and transient thermal analysis.
- The development of a FE thermal transient analysis technique to characterise the drift performance of a balance design.
- The validation of small balance drift predictions against wind tunnel test data.
- The development of a new balance design methodology.
- Developments in data processing techniques.
The balance performance has been fully validated in the TWT using the ARA Reference Model, a high fidelity generic civil transport model regularly used to quality assure the facility and associated data measurement and acquisition systems.
The new design processes and material technology which have been proven in the design and testing of these new balances are now incorporated in our latest balance designs and benefit customers in the ARA wind tunnel and those who choose ARA as a supplier of wind tunnel balances for their own facilities.