Experimental data for the validation of theoretical models of unsteady skin friction are limited and are available only for a few low Reynolds number flow cases. There is a strong need for detailed measurements in flows at high Reynolds numbers. In addition, there is a need for a wider range of well-controlled acceleration/deceleration rates and detailed visualization of flow structure and profiles. To address these needs, a large-scale pipeline apparatus at Deltares, Delft, The Netherlands, has been used for unsteady skin friction experiments including acceleration, deceleration and acoustic resonance tests. The apparatus consists of a constant head tank, a horizontal 200 mm diameter pipe of
changeable length (44 to 49 metres) and a control valve at the downstream end. In addition to standard instrumentation, two distinctive instruments have been used: hot-film wall shear stress sensors ("direct" measurement of wall shear stress) and a PIV set-up for measurement of unsteady flow profiles. This paper describes the test rig, the instrumentation layout and the test programme. Finally, some initial test results are presented and discussed.