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Parks College

Parachute Research Group

Wind Tunnel Investigation of Ram-Air Cell Inflation

Mr. Roberto Montanez, Dr. Jean Potvin, and Mr. Gary Peek

Presented at the 14th AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Conference

The duration of the opening of ram-air parachutes primarily depends on the inflation time of its individual cells.

Cell inflation is a process which is similar to that of car airbags, except that the air flow into the cell is unsteady and sometimes random.

A model of a parachute cell is currently being deployed in a series of wind tunnel experiments in which wind speed, cell design and environmental conditions are systematically changed. Here pressure measurements inside the cell are used for an accurate determination of its inflation time.

This study is taking place at the Parks College wind tunnel laboratory.

The experimental setup consists of a one cell parachute model which is deployed via pilot chute extraction from its packing tube. The deployment sequence is initiated by a ripcord pull. The trends so far observed show that inflation time decreases with increasing airflow and inlet surface area.

More information on this experimental setup and observations can be found in this report (available on request) from Dr. Jean Potvin
R. Montanez, J. Potvin and G. Peek; "Wind Tunnel Investigation of Ram-Air Parachute Cell Pressurization";
Proceedings of the AIAA 14th Aerodynamics Decelerator Systems Technology Conference; paper AIAA-97-1524.

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