The Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsored a project at Virginia Tech University nearly 20 years ago that is now growing in influence across the world for measuring aerospace and aeronautical acoustics. Since noise reverberates against solid surfaces, such as the walls of a wind tunnel where acoustical testing takes place, collecting accurate sound data had been nearly impossible at the time. Researchers were also struggling to discern the sound of the wind tunnel’s air flow from the noise of the object traveling through it.

After learning about some experiments on Kevlar as a wind screen, William Devenport, an engineering professor and director of Virginia Tech’s Stability Wind Tunnel, said he and a colleague wrote a proposal to then-ONR program officer Ron Joslin to try adding Kevlar to their wind tunnel walls.

Devenport submitted the original grant proposal (N00014–04–1–04933) through the FY 2004 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) for alterations to Virginia Tech’s existing Stability Wind Tunnel that would allow it to measure flow-induced noise of relevance to Navy applications.