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1.1 Introduction
Wind tunnels are one of the important tool for aerodynamic studies. Wind tunnels are
used to similitude the actual flow conditions of a prototype on a scale model. By
facilitating the actual flow conditions of a prototype on a scale mode one can study the
aerodynamic properties experienced by the prototype on the scale model with reasonable
accuracy. It is a device in which a jet gas (generally air) of uniform properties are
produced past the model. Basically it is a tubular passage for air or any other gasses
which are forced to produce a flow of uniform properties in the test section. The models
which has to undergo for aerodynamic studies are mounted in the test section with
suitable instrumentation for measuring the forces, pressure distribution and other
aerodynamic characteristics.

1.2 Application of wind tunnels

The earliest wind tunnel finds its origins at the end of the 19th century, when attempts
were made to develop heavier-than-air flying machines. The development of the wind
tunnel has huge impact on the development of airplane. Large wind tunnels begin to
appear during the Second World War. During the cold war period, wind tunnel testing
were considered to be of strategic importance since, it would led to the development of
supersonic air-crafts and missiles.
Later on, wind tunnel began to appear for the civilian purposes. With the invention of
modern building materials, man-made structure like buildings and bridges starts to grow
taller and longer than ever it was. Aerodynamic forces on these structures began to appear
as the significant parameter to consider as these structures grows taller and longer. It
became necessary to deduce this aerodynamic forces while designing this structures. And

this was possible only by wind tunnels.

Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


Fig 1.1 Wind tunnel testing of a building model Fig 1.2 Wind tunnel testing of a bridge model

Similarly automobile industry started adopting wind tunnel testing for their vehicle.
During oil crisis, it was desperately needed for more fuel economy vehicles. One of the
way to achieve the fuel economy was to reduce drag by offering more aerodynamic shape
to the vehicle. Wind tunnel testing points out key areas of improvement in the vehicle

Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


Fig1.3: Wind tunnel testing of a car

After the Second World War, the aerospace industry started to focus on the civilian
application. Earlier, air travel was costlier because of the less aerodynamic efficient
aircraft. Less aerodynamic efficient aircraft means more fuel consumption and higher
cost. It was needed to minimize the fuel consumption to make the air travel more
affordable by incorporating more aerodynamically efficient shapes to the air-craft. They
started developing and using more aerodynamic shapes for fuselage and special purpose
airfoils for the wings. One of the key development in aerospace industry was the use of
winglets at the wing tip. This has remarkably improve the performance of the aircraft. All
this development would not be possible without wind tunnels.

Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


Fig1.4: Wind tunnel testing of aircraft


Fig 1.5: Wind tunnel testing of wind

turbine model

Inspiring from the aerospace industry wind energy industry also started developing
more aerodynamic efficient airfoils for the turbine rotor blades and again wind tunnel
comes to aid it.


History of wind tunnel

Benjamin Robins (1707-1751), a English military engineer and mathematician

invented a apparatus to determine drag and perform some experiment in aviation theory.
Sir George Cayley (1773-1857) used the similar apparatus as invented by Benjamin
Robins to measure lift and drag of various airfoils. Francis Herbert Wenham (1824-1908),
a Council Member of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, addresses on some
aerodynamic issues by inventing, designing and operating the first enclosed wind tunnel

in 1871. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1897, built an open section wind tunnel powered by a
centrifugal blower and perform experiments on flat plates, cylinders and spheres. Poul la
cour, a Danish inventor in early 1890s uses wind tunnel while developing and refining
Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


technology for wind turbines. Carl Rickard Nyberg while designing his flugan from 1897
and onwards used wind tunnel. Osborne Reynolds(1842-1912), from University of
Manchester in his set of experiments demonstrated that the flow over a scale model would
be same as that of the full scale prototype if certain flow parameter were same in both
cases. The Wright Brothers in 1901 uses wind tunnel to study the effect of airflow over
various shapes while developing their Wright Flyer [1].

Fig 1.6: Model of wright brothers wind tunnel


Types of wind tunnels

Wind tunnels may be classified in many ways. Generally they are classified on the

basis of Reynolds number, application, construction and Mach number. The detail
classification of wind tunnel are describe in Fig. 1.7.
Based on the construction wind tunnels are classified into two types; wind tunnels
2.Closed wind tunnels
the jet of the flow moves around a closed path in the wind tunnel then that type of

wind tunnel is called as closed wind tunnel (Refer: Fig. 1.8) otherwise it is open wind
tunnel (Refer: Fig. 1.9) .
Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel







Fig 1.7 Classification of wind tunnels

Fig 1.8 Closed type subsonic wind tunnel

Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


Fig 1.9 Open type subsonic wind tunnel

Not all wind tunnels operate at same Reynolds number. Basically the Reynolds
number for the wind tunnel is obtained based on the test section cross-sectional area.
Reynolds number plays a very important role in case of incompressible flow. Since it is
not always possible to achieve the actual Reynolds number on a scale model due to the
fact of limitation of model size; high Reynolds number is obtained by many ways. Higher
Reynolds number can be achieved even without increasing the velocity of the jet. One of
the way to achieve high Reynolds number is to increase the density of the flowing jet of
gas. Some of the tunnels in which high Reynolds number is achieved are as follows;
1. Pressurized wind tunnel
In this type of tunnels gases are kept under high pressure to achieve high Reynolds
2. Heavy gas tunnels
In this type of the tunnels heavy gases like Freon and R-134a are used. Due to
high density of these gases higher Reynolds number can be achieved.
3. Cryogenic tunnels
In this type of the tunnels the gas are cooled to cryogenic temperatures. At low
temperature the density of the gases is increased and thus higher Reynolds number

is achieved.

Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


As discussed earlier wind tunnel finds its application in many areas. Only one type of
wind tunnel cannot met all the requirements of all other applications. So for that purpose,
wind tunnels for specific application were made. Some of these are as follows;
1. Aeronautical wind tunnels
This type of wind tunnels were develop to test the aeronautical objects like space
shuttles and other objects.
2. V/STOL tunnels
This type of wind tunnel were develop to test the vertical or short take-off and
landing vehicles. This type of tunnels require a larger test section (larger crosssectional area) but lesser velocity requirements.
3. Spin wind tunnels
This tunnels were developed to study the stall and its effect on the aircraft.
Usually aircraft have the tendency to spin when they are stalled.
4. Automobile tunnels
Automobile tunnels were developed to study the external flow characteristics and
climatic conditions on the vehicle.
5. Aqua dynamic flumes
The aerodynamic principles of the wind tunnel work equally on the watercraft,
except the water is more viscous an so sets greater forces on the object being
tested. A looping flume is typically used for underwater aqua dynamic testing.
Based on the Mach number, wind tunnels can be classified as;
1. Subsonic wind tunnels
2. Transonic wind tunnels
3. Supersonic wind tunnels

4. Hypersonic wind tunnels

Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


Fig1.10: Test section of trans-sonic wind tunnel

Fig1.11: Schematic of supersonic wind tunnel

Fig1.12: Schematic of hyper-sonic wind tunnel

Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel


Fig1.13: A Hyper sonic wind tunnel

1.5 Outline of the work

The present report is based on design, analysis and renovation of an existing wind
tunnel of test section of (60.90x60.90x122 cm 3) and contraction ratio of 9. The details of
history, applications and different type of wind tunnel are discussed in the present
introductory chapter. Chapter 2 includes review different literature related to wind tunnel.
General design procedure for hypothetical wind tunnel for similar attributes is reported in
chapter 3. Comparison of this hypothetical wind tunnel is done with existing wind tunnel
in the later part chapter3. This chapter also include different concept of balance systems
for forces and moments. Chapter 4 deals with the details of numerical analysis for
existing wind tunnel, which includes results of simulation and discuss for different test
section conditions of wind tunnel. The renovation and development details are presented
in chapter 5. Chapter 6 incorporates conclusions of the present work and future scopes.
References used for present work are cited at last.


Design, Analysis and Renovation of existing Wind tunnel