Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel

The BLWT resource is the newest in North America and one of the largest in the world. Its fixed components include:

  • A 6 m W x 3 m H bank of eight 1.5 m Aerovent vaneaxial fans with adjustable pitch blades that can generate up to 30 m/s winds at maximum RPM (typical testing speeds are 10 m/s)
  • Screen and honeycomb to suppress unwanted turbulence generated by the fan bank
  • A closed-loop 2800 HP diesel-hydraulic power delivery system that can maintain +/- 5 fan RPM
  • A 40 m tunnel with an adjustable ceiling pitch to regain static pressure lost from friction
  • A command and control center with six large HD monitors and six live video camera feeds
  • Office space for visiting faculty and students

The facility is fully equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation, including:

  • A 512 channel Scanivalve pressure scanning system that is identical to the system used by RWDI to model signature buildings around the world (e.g., Burj Khalifa).
  • TSI Particle Image Velocimetry system, which includes a Phantom Miro340 high-speed camera with 12Gb onboard memory (2560 x 1600 pixels at 800 fps, 1280 x 800 pixels at 3000 fps), an 80W Nd:YLF dual-cavity YLF Laser with 25mj per pulse at 1 kHz pulse rate per cavity and TSI oil droplet generators (Laskin nozzle 1000 L/min 1um particle mean diameter)
  • Four Turbulent Flow Instrumentation Cobra Probes that measure three components of velocity up to 2000 Hz. Data acquisition is synchronized to quantify spatial correlation
  • Two ATI Industries Nano25 6-Axis miniature load cells to quantify base forces and moments
  • An Optitrack Flex 3 3D Position System to quantify displacements at 100 Hz and 1 mm accuracy.
  • A general purpose National Instruments PXI data acquisition system

The BLWT also has a dedicated model and instrumentation shop equipped with two 3D printers (3D Systems ProJet 3510 SD, CubeX Duo). The ProJet has a 298 x 185 x 203 mm net build volume and a 375 x 375 x 790 DPI resolution. An ultrasonic bath removes wax support material, which allows for printing of complex shapes and fine detailing (e.g., integrated pressure tapping). The CubeX Duo, which prints in ABS and PLA, has a 275 x 265 x 240 mm build volume and a 100-micron z-axis resolution. Users will also have access to a full machine shop on site and the University’s A2 FabLab, which operates an NT Motion Systems CNT-950 3-Axis Mill equipped with a tool changer and a vacuum chamber.