A racing car model in the T2 Wind Tunnel. Photo by Dave Guttridge

Monitoring the T2 Wind Tunnel. Photo: Dave Guttridge

The T1 and T2 Low-Speed Wind Tunnels

A dedicated wind tunnel laboratory houses the Department’s T1 and T2 wind tunnels. Opened in 2017, these two wind tunnels provide sophisticated core facilities for researchers in experimental Aerodynamics and for teaching. In addition, they provide a unique opportunity for use commercially due to their adaptability, ease of use and high precision. 

Uses 

The tunnels have been used by clients for Wind Turbine model testingTelescope wind loading testing and Wind speed sensor calibrations. 

They are also capable of aircraft/air vehicle testing, drag reduction, and the testing of sporting equipment (from gold balls, racing car or cycle clothing or helmet drag testing). Items subject to wind loading such as masts, canopies, sails, buildings or parts of buildings. 

Although the 10x5 wind tunnel is used for complete car testing, some road vehicle tests take place in the T1 and T2 tunnels, such as cooling through vehicle radiators and intake ducts, as well as flow interactions between vehicle body parts (e.g. racing car front wing and wheel). 

Design 

The tunnels have an ‘up-and-over’ design with closed returnensuring the two relatively large facilities fit into a double-height laboratory space, which also features a control room, entrance lobby and plant room shared between the two tunnels. This co-location means the tunnels can share many electrical and water supplies and other supporting services.  

Specifications 

The T1 tunnel was designed as an ultra-low turbulence facility with removable self-levelling test sections which are 0.914m high x 0.914m wide x 5m long.  The test sections are equipped with sophisticated vibration isolation and a high-precision 3-axis traverse. The tunnel is capable of wind speeds of 42m/s driven by an axial 32kW fan.

The larger T2 wind tunnel is a temperature-stabilised general-purpose facility capable of wind speeds exceeding 50m/s. The versatile test section is 1.11m high x 1.66m wide x 4m long and equipped with a high-precision 3-axis traverse.

Other features 

The tunnels are complemented by a range of highly sophisticated instrumentation, such as high-speed multi-channel data acquisition, force measurement, multi-channel pressure scanners, Particle-Image-Velocimetry equipment and the unique ability to control the laboratory environment to match the requirements of modern laser-based diagnostic techniques.