Site: Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, SB RAS
Institutskaya, 4/1
Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Fax: (3832) 352268

Date of Visit: November 1, 1995

WTEC Attendees:

J. Moniz (report author), H. B. Ali, R. Blidberg, S. Chechin, M. J. DeHaemer, L. Gentry, J.B. Mooney


Prof. Vasily Mikhailovich Fomin

Director, (Corr. Memb. RAS).
Phone: (3832) 353533

Prof. Viktor Vladimirovich Kozlov

Head of Laboratory.
Phone: (3932) 354278


The Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM) was founded in 1957 by Academician S. A. Christianovich (he is 88 and lives in Moscow). He is one of the three original academicians who started the Siberian branch of the RAS, along with Lavrentyev and Sobolev. The staff numbers 600 (there were 1000 before Perestroika) of which 35 are professors and 180 are candidates of science. Staff reductions have been made mostly in support personnel; according to Prof. Fomin, scientists have nowhere to go. Attrition has been caused mostly by retirement and staff members moving abroad.

ITAM's main areas of work are mathematical modeling, aerodynamics, and physical gas dynamics. Note that the institute has done continuous aerodynamic work for more than 30 years. Half their budget comes from the RAS. They have to earn the other half. This comes from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and from contracts with different firms: American, European, Italian, and those of the former Soviet Union. "We are learning to make much money working with foreign firms."

The institute has two teaching departments, one at Novosibirsk State University and the other at Novosibirsk State Technical University. They have started having third year students take practical instruction at the institute. Their goal is to fight current trends: There are more students, but fewer aspirants and scientists. Young people go through their studies, get a little experience, and then go overseas to work. The average age of their staff is now about 45 years, but they are able to keep 10 to 15 aspirants per year. Figure 2.15 shows the institute's view of its activities and capabilities.


Aerodynamic Research

Figure 2.16 shows, graphically, the distribution of Reynolds and Mach number capabilities among ITAM's eight wind tunnels. Table 2.3 lists the operational parameters of ITAM's wind tunnels.

They have a large tunnel where they can get high Mach numbers but not high Reynolds numbers -- they are striving to get clear flow and high temperature. They are working on understanding the differences between a stationary object in a moving air stream (interactions with the wind tunnel's wall) and a moving object in stationary air. This will lead to more realistic test conditions.

[figure 2_15]
Fig. 2.15. Brief outline of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, RAS, Siberian Branch
(Novosibirsk, Russia). [Retyped verbatim from the original.]

[figure 2_16]
Fig. 2.16. Distribution of Reynolds and Mach numbers.

Applied Aerodynamic Research

This is in the areas of reducing aircraft aerodynamic resistance; specifically, they are working on control of the laminar-turbulent transition by reducing cross-flow through management of separation phenomena. They are able, through the influence of riblets, to control the boundary layer transition.

Research on Hydrodynamics

The institute performs experiments and mathematical modeling in hydrodynamics. They supported hydrofoil work in conjunction with an institute in Irkutsk and wing-in-ground effect work (Ekronoplan) with an institute in Nizhny-Novgorod.

Table 2.3
Main Characteristics of Wind Tunnels at ITAM

[table 2_3]

Cold-Gas Dynamic Spraying Method (video)

They use low temperature and high speed (the process may be amenable to mass production). In their apparatus, powder is sprayed at 77-800°F (at a temperature lower than the particular powder's Tm) onto the object to be coated. The particle size is typically <1 mm. Due to the low temperature, the coating's properties are similar to the properties of the particles because there is no melting or outgassing.

Solid Rocket Motors

They have designed sub-launched solid rocket motors, though they are now being destroyed under arms reduction agreements. They showed an internal ballistics trace: the rocket has a burn time of about 2 seconds (a short burn time for such an application) with no trail-off and a maximum pressure of 60 atm. Its burn was neutral with a long pressurization period.

They designed a telescoping nozzle for this rocket, ostensibly so it could fit in its launch tube while maintaining decent performance. It appeared that in operation (fully extended) it would be capable of submergence.

Self-Forging Projectiles

They model explosive performance and performance of self-forging projectiles. They claim good results in modeling penetration of self-forging projectiles through metal plates (at v = 4-5 km/sec).

Marine applications: mathematical modeling of body movement in salt water.

They work with the Japanese on magnetic reduction of hydrodynamic drag, using mathematical models only -- experiments are expected soon.


On our walk to the first of the wind tunnels, we saw an accumulator farm composed of 80 tanks, each approximately six feet in diameter and 60 feet long; the stated pressure capability of each tank is 16-20 atm. Two photographs of this tank farm are shown in Figure 2.17.

[figure 2_17a]
[figure 2_17b]
Fig. 2.17. Wind tunnel accumulator tank farm.

UT-302 Wind Tunnel

Operational parameters: Mach capability 5-15, maximum pressure 100 atm, 3000°K temperature capability with an event length 50-200 ms. This tunnel is different in principle from others because it has flow stabilization.

Supersonic Experiment Facility, Wind Tunnel T-313 (Prof. Kharitonov)

The test area of this tunnel is 0.6 by 0.6 m. It operates up to Mach 4 with cold air and Mach 5 & 6 with heated air. The tunnel has a 5-6 minute test duration. We saw a model set up with two wedges in the test section to measure Mach reflection. In the demonstration we could see, on a TV monitor, the streamlines and Mach stem forming with changes in the wedges' positions.

Hypersonic Wind Tunnel, T-326

They use this tunnel to measure heat flux on reentry bodies. The Mach capability is 5-14 in a test chamber measuring 60 cm. They use a plasma heater above Mach 8.

Supersonic Hydro Wind Tunnel, T-325 (Dr. Kosinov)

They use this tunnel for laminar/turbulent flow measurements in the range of Mach 2-4.

Large Wind Tunnel, T-324 (Prof. Kozlov)

Prof. Kozlov showed us this tunnel. The velocity range is a fan-driven 1-100 m/sec to provide a laminar, very good quality flow. The working chamber is 1 m by 1 m, and the tunnel is made of wood to prevent acoustic noise (yielding a signal-to-noise ratio of 10,000).

Hypersonic Wind Tunnel, T-327A

This tunnel uses a nitrogen working fluid at 13°K; the tunnel also incorporates a nitrogen cleaner. The basic operating parameters are Mach 16-24 and a Reynolds number of ~105; they simulate altitudes of 80-90 km and use temperatures up to 2000°K. The tunnel's vacuum system has a volume of 100 m3. They use a three-component test balance to measure drag, lift, and pitching moment. Other measurements include heat flux, temperature, velocity, and vibration. They also use an electron beam to measure density and to visualize flow. Operating time is 1 minute.

We saw a model of their Buran space shuttle orbiter in their collection of test shapes.


Consumer Fan/Refrigerator Device

(for lack of a better name)

This device is also capable of separating 1 mm dust (as an air cleaner). It could also be used as a dehumidifier, and it could be used to separate fluids of different densities.

Wind Engine

We saw a video of their unique wind engine: it starts with wind of 2 m/sec. The blades were similar in operating principle to the sails of Cousteau's wind ship.


The director and staff of this institute exude vigor. The WTEC team came away with the impression that they are self-sufficient or are certainly heading towards self-sufficiency. They seem to be strong not only in the quality and number of their international contacts, but also in how they are regarded as a leader in aerodynamics research not only in Russia, but in the international community.

While a visitor naturally gets overwhelmed by the extent of their aerodynamics work and facilities, one should not dismiss the institute's other scientific capabilities, which we have unfortunately only touched upon in this report.


Papyrin, A. N. A New Method for Coatings Deposition: New Generation of Technologies. Five-page process description, Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. (Prof. Anatolii N. Papyrin is head of the Laboratory for Physics of Multiphase Systems.)

Published: August 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian