California Institute of Technology
- Decreased product design time from six to eight months
- Lowered design costs by 30 percent
- Reduced design errors by 40 percent
- Increased market share by 20 percent
The design of the new supersonic wind tunnel at the California Institute of Technology required the construction of a sophisticated nozzle, through which the flow of gas over a model could be analyzed. The contour of the nozzle needed to be a circular, rectangle-shaped cross-section made of a seamless blend of materials. The nozzle would then expand into a larger rectangle. In addition, a guide curve for this seamless blend of surfaces had to be imported from a calculated set of numbers. 2D CAD systems were not powerful enough to design such sophisticated parts and large assemblies.
We chose SolidWorks software for its short learning curve, its Windows-based PC platform, and, most important, its comprehensive set of tools for translating the CAD model into the CAM system. With SolidWorks 3D CAD software, we were able to complete the assembly of the supersonic wind tunnel, surpassing our goal by simulating speeds in excess of Mach 3.