Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Slow Flow: New Wind Tunnel is Largest of Its Type

18.11.2010
Facility Will Model More Efficient Aircraft, Better Weather Prediction

The University of New Hampshire is now home to a wind tunnel that is the largest of its type in the world.

At 300 feet long, the new Flow Physics Facility (FPF) is the world’s largest scientific quality boundary-layer wind tunnel facility. It will help engineers and scientists better understand the dynamics of turbulent boundary layers, informing the aerodynamics of situations such as atmospheric wind over the ocean, the flow of air over a commercial airplane or of sea water over a submarine.

Two 400-horsepower fans, each moving 250,000 cubic feet of air per minute, can generate a wind of approximately 28 miles per hour in the facility. The relatively low velocity of wind generated over a great distance makes for greater accuracy in measuring the turbulence that develops in a specific class of flows known as high Reynolds number flows.

“The philosophy behind this facility is the big and slow approach,” says Joe Klewicki, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Fluid Physics, as well as outgoing dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

“Turbulence is often called the last unsolved problem in classical physics, and our lack of understanding has many adverse effects, from weather prediction to engineering design and practice,” says assistant professor of mechanical engineering Martin Wosnik, who helped design the facility with Klewicki and assistant professor of mechanical engineering Chris White. “This new facility will help us test, for the first time, new theories that are emerging to update the classical views of turbulence, which date from the 1930s and ‘40s.”

Researchers from UNH and beyond will use the facility to explore the aerodynamics of, for instance, the junction of the wing and fuselage on an airplane. “This is a huge issue for aircraft companies, because it enables them to better predict or even manipulate fuel economy,” says Klewicki. Or by placing a model cityscape on a turntable in the wind tunnel, engineers could model how the release of a chemical into the atmosphere would flow around buildings.

The wind tunnel is also ideally suited for human-scale aerodynamic studies, says Klewicki. By positioning athletes like skiers or bicyclists in the tunnel, scientists and coaches could improve helmet design, posture, or pedaling position for maximum efficiency. For elite competitors, “the smallest change in where your knee is when you pedal, for instance, can mean the difference between finishing first or fifth,” says Klewicki.

The FPF, which is on Waterworks Road on the eastern edge of campus, is essentially a rectangular box, 300 feet long by 20 feet wide. The fans create suction that pulls air through open garage-style doors on the opposite end of the facility: “Unless both garage doors are open, the fans won’t run. Without such precautions one could cause damage to the structure,” says Klewicki.

Other features of the facility, which cost $3 million, are a 10-inch-thick poured concrete floor; moisture-proof walls; windows designed to accommodate laser measurement from the outside; a turntable; and drag plates on the floor for measuring aerodynamic force, as on an airplane.

Funding for the FPF was provided by the National Science Foundation through EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), the Office of Naval Research, and UNH.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

Photographs available to download:
http://unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2010/nov/bp08tech_01.jpg
Caption: Flow Physics Facility director Joe Klewicki, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of New Hampshire, introduces the new facility to alumni of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.
http://unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2010/nov/bp08tech_03.jpg
Flow Physics Facility director Joe Klewicki, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of New Hampshire, in front of the two 400-horsepower fans that each move 250,000 cubic feet of air per minute
http://unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2010/nov/bp08tech_02.jpg
An exterior view of UNH’s new Flow Physics Facility.
Credit: All photos by Mike Ross, UNH Photographic Services.
Media contact: Beth Potier
UNH Media Relations
603-862-1566
beth.potier@unh.edu
Reporters and editors: Center for Fluid Physics director Joe Klewicki, professor of mechanical engineering at UNH, is available at joe.klewicki@unh.edu or 603-862-1781. The facility will be dedicated Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 at 2:30; to attend, contact Beth Potier at beth.potier@unh.edu.

Beth Potier | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.unh.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars
15.12.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht A chip for environmental and health monitoring
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>