UDRI maintains and operates the US Air Force's Rain Erosion Test Facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton. This facility is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Materials Degradation Test Facility. A Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Air Force allows us to provide easy access for commercial customers. We conduct tests for over a dozen different customers each year.
The "rain rig" has been the national and international standard for testing the rain erosion resistance of a variety of aerospace materials since 1967. An 8-foot-diameter rotating arm and 96 calibrated needles are used to simulate flight in a 1 inch per hour rainfall. Coupon specimens are tested at speeds up to 650 mph. Real-time video is monitored and recorded, allowing "time to failure" testing.
Test parameters and results are treated in a proprietary manner and our database is accessed only under a strict USAF need basis. A User's Guide (PDF) describes different coupon specimen geometries. Specimens may be shipped for testing, and visitors are welcomed after Air Force arrangements are made. Please contact Katharine Hemmerick or Andrew Phelps to learn more about using the rain erosion facility.
Rain erosion test chamber with whirling arm