Windtunnel Design & Construction – part 1: design brief


In 2013 I designed & built the new low-speed windtunnel for the VUB, Vrije Universiteit Brussels. At the time I got asked to take on this job, I was in the process of building my own low-cost windtunnel in my workshop. I wanted to continue the wind tunnel testing I was doing with Maximillian. As a result of this project, this first tunnel was never finished.
But there is a 20m/s, 2-ton, modular wind tunnel at the VUB.  And I have the keys of the room.

Ofcourse, if I had simply rented someone elses wind tunnel for a couple of weeks, those wind tunnel tests would have been finished a long time age. I’m stupid that way.

The design brief, by prof. Tim De Troyer, was for a low-speed wind tunnel with these specifications:

-maximum windspeed 15m/s
-cross-section of test section: 500mm high by 700mm wide
-overall length <10.5 m, constricted by room dimensions
-all components needed to fit through the doorframe (1480mmx2050mm) as the tunnel will need to be moved somewhere in 2016
-to allow for multiple student projects to use the tunnel, it needed interchangeable test sections

A baseline for the design was provided by an existing wind tunnel, designed and built by the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics for EMA, Ecole des Mines in Alès, France. )
This tunnel is a suction-type tunnel. These can be shorter for a given wind speed than the equivalent blower tunnel.
The new design was to be a 140% scaled-up version of this tunnel.

The windtunnel was designed and built over a period from may 2013 to december 2013.

Airflow design & overall dimensions: Tim De Troyer



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