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University of Technology Sydney

External Flow –
Wind Tunnel
Experiment
Laboratory Report
Abstract
The aim of this report is to investigate the effects of external flow across various shapes. This

was achieved through the use of a wind tunnel as part of an experiment that allowed for air to

be passed through each object. With the assistance of a multi-tube inclined manometer, data

such as actual fan speed, room temperature, absolute pressure, pilot static tube reading and

drag force were able to be obtained. This data was then used to calculate the drag coefficient

and Reynolds number for the shapes that were used in the experiment. These values were

then compared with their theoretical values.


Table of Contents

Abstract......................................................................................................................................1

Introduction................................................................................................................................3

Aim.............................................................................................................................................4

Experimental Set-up...................................................................................................................5

Apparatus................................................................................................................................5

Methodology...........................................................................................................................7

Results/Discussion.....................................................................................................................8

Computer Data........................................................................................................................8

Pressure Drag........................................................................................................................11

Friction Drag........................................................................................................................14

Reynold’s Number................................................................................................................15

Drag Coefficient...................................................................................................................18

Improvement.........................................................................................................................20

Applications..........................................................................................................................21

Conclusion................................................................................................................................22

References................................................................................................................................23
Introduction
When an object is completely surrounded by fluids e.g. gases and/or liquids, the flow of this

fluid is called external flow, and this generates a force on the object. The study of its effects

has been applied in various fields such as structures (bridges and buildings), aeronautics and

medicine. Objects subjected to a fluid generate a force (the Total force) that is resolved into

two components: the lift component, which is perpendicular to the free-stream flow direction

and the drag component, that acts parallel to the free-stream flow direction.  These exist due

to

variations in pressure, viscous interaction of the fluid along the surface of the object and

shear Figure 1: Forces generated due to fluid flow force

along the

surface.
In this experiment, the various objects (circle, square, diamond, raindrop facing forward and

raindrop facing backwards) will be subjected to fluid flow across their surfaces and the

effects of the external flow will be investigated. The only fluid that will be used is air.
Aim
The aim of this wind tunnel experiment is to:

- Gain experience with measurement methods of fluid flow on objects.

- Determine pressure variation and different contributing components of the drag force on

a common object: the circular cylinder.

- Obtain drag coefficient and Reynolds number for other shapes.

- Compare experimental results with theoretical values

- Analyse the flow phenomenon relating to circular cylinders, and its extension to other

shapes.
Experimental Set-up
Apparatus
The main apparatus used for this experiment was the wind tunnel. It has the following

specifications:

 Dimensions of test section; 300x300x600mm

 Contraction cone area ratio: 7:11

 Wire screen specifications: 1.24mm aperture, 0.35mm wire diameter and the open

area percentage is roughly 60%

 Hexagonal honeycomb flow straightener specifications:  6.23mm A/F, 60mm long

 Speed

measurements using pitot tubes.

1. Place and secure the


shape to be tested within
the wind tunnel chamber.
2. Arrange 21 1mm
diameter tappings around
the upper half of the
object to be 9
degrees apart. Then attach
these to a multi-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be
used to record the gauge
pressure. Attach the pitot-
static tube to a single-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be used to record the
dynamic pressure.
3. Set the fan speed to
1400 RPM, and after
ensuring it is safe to do so,
start the fan.
4. Once the fan reaches its
set speed, wait at least 10
additional seconds to allow
for
the speed to stabilise. Not
doing so can negatively
impact upon the accuracy
of
results.
5. Record the results
output by the wind tunnel
software.
6. Repeat these steps for
fan speeds of 1600 and
1800 RPM.
7. Repeat this method
until each shape has been
tested successfully
1. Place and secure the
shape to be tested within
the wind tunnel chamber.
2. Arrange 21 1mm
diameter tappings around
the upper half of the
object to be 9
degrees apart. Then attach
these to a multi-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be
used to record the gauge
pressure. Attach the pitot-
static tube to a single-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be used to record the
dynamic pressure.
3. Set the fan speed to
1400 RPM, and after
ensuring it is safe to do so,
start the fan.
4. Once the fan reaches its
set speed, wait at least 10
additional seconds to allow
for
the speed to stabilise. Not
doing so can negatively
impact upon the accuracy
of
results.
5. Record the results
output by the wind tunnel
software.
6. Repeat these steps for
fan speeds of 1600 and
1800 RPM.
7. Repeat this method
until each shape has been
tested successfully
1. Place and secure the
shape to be tested within
the wind tunnel chamber.
2. Arrange 21 1mm
diameter tappings around
the upper half of the
object to be 9
degrees apart. Then attach
these to a multi-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be
used to record the gauge
pressure. Attach the pitot-
static tube to a single-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be used to record the
dynamic pressure.
3. Set the fan speed to
1400 RPM, and after
ensuring it is safe to do so,
start the fan.
4. Once the fan reaches its
set speed, wait at least 10
additional seconds to allow
for
the speed to stabilise. Not
doing so can negatively
impact upon the accuracy
of
results.
5. Record the results
output by the wind tunnel
software.
6. Repeat these steps for
fan speeds of 1600 and
1800 RPM.
7. Repeat this method
until each shape has been
tested successfully
1. Place and secure the
shape to be tested within
the wind tunnel chamber.
2. Arrange 21 1mm
diameter tappings around
the upper half of the
object to be 9
degrees apart. Then attach
these to a multi-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be
used to record the gauge
pressure. Attach the pitot-
static tube to a single-tube
inclined manometer, which
will be used to record the
dynamic pressure.
3. Set the fan speed to
1400 RPM, and after
ensuring it is safe to do so,
start the fan.
4. Once the fan reaches its
set speed, wait at least 10
additional seconds to allow
for
the speed to stabilise. Not
doing so can negatively
impact upon the accuracy
of
results.
5. Record the results
output by the wind tunnel
software.
6. Repeat these steps for
fan speeds of 1600 and
1800 RPM.
7. Repeat this method
until each shape has been
tested successfully
Figure 2: Wind Tunnel used for the experiment

Figure 3: Location where objects are secured and its pressure


tappings.
The objects that were used in the experiment have the following specifications:

- The arrow represents the direction of the air flow, in the wind tunnel

Figure 5: A circle with diameter (D) Figure 4: A square with length (L)
of 64mm of 64mm

Figure 6: A rotated square (representing a diamond shape)


with length (L) of 64mm

Figure7: The raindrop facing forward has A = 49mm, B = 130mm and


D = 64mm

Figure 8: The raindrop facing backward has A = 49mm, B = 130mm and


D = 64mm
Methodology
1. To begin with, run the system and record the data of the free stream of the flow in the wind

tunnel.

2. Place and secure the object that is to be tested within the wind tunnel chamber.

3. Set the required fan speed (RPM), and once the fan has stabilised, record the data

displayed. The required fan speeds are: 1400RPM, 1600RPM and 1800RPM. The flowing

data are displayed: Room Pressure, Room Temp., Total Force, Pilot Static Tube and Actual

Fan Speed (RPM).

4. Steps 2 and 3 are to be repeated for other objects and similarly data is to be record.
Results/Discussion

Computer Data

The following results have been generated in the lab by conducting the wind tunnel

experiment. The raw data in table 1 is the free flow of the fluid.

Table 1:Raw Data (Cylinder with tappings)

Ambient Temperature (C) 22.3

Ambient Pressure (kPa) 102.37

Fan Speed (RPM) 1400 1600 1800

Pitot static Tube (Pa) 60.6 79.0 101.5

Total Force (N) 1.06 1.36 1.72

Angle

(θ)

0 Tube 1 (Pa) +67 +90 +110

9 Tube 2 (Pa) +65 +85 +105

18 Tube 3 (Pa) +55 +70 +83

27 Tube 4 (Pa) +30 +40 +50

36 Tube 5 (Pa) +7 +5 +4

45 Tube 6 (Pa) -25 -33 -45

54 Tube 7 (Pa) -55 -70 -95

63 Tube 8 (Pa) -67 -85 -115

72 Tube 9 (Pa) -65 -80 -113

81 Tube 10 (Pa) -53 -72 -100

90 Tube 11 (Pa) -55 -70 -97

99 Tube 12 (Pa) -60 -74 -102

108 Tube 13 (Pa) -60 -73 -102


117 Tube 14 (Pa) -57 -74 -104

126 Tube 15 (Pa) -60 -75 -105

135 Tube 16 (Pa) -63 -76 -107

144 Tube 17 (Pa) -63 -78 -110

153 Tube 18 (Pa) -65 -77 -108

162 Tube 19 (Pa) -65 -74 -108

171 Tube 20 (Pa) -60 -70 -106

180 Tube 21 (Pa) -55 -67 -105

The following data is obtained from the wind tunnel, for the other shapes outlined in the

apparatus. This data can be used to calculate the Reynolds number and drag coefficient.

Table 2: Raw Data for other shapes

Shape Cylinder Square Diamond Raindrop (forward) Raindrop (backward)

1400 RPM

Pitot Static Tube 62.1 54.5 52.1 63.7 61.1


(Pa)

Total Force (N) 1.03 2.09 2.36 0.90 0.86

1600 RPM

Pitot Static Tube 81.3 71.9 69.1 84.6 81.3


(Pa)

Total Force (N) 1.32 2.72 3.09 1.09 1.08

1800 RPM
Pitot Static Tube 105.0 91.7 87.2 107.0 103.2
(Pa)

Total Force (N) 1.52 3.39 3.87 1.27 1.36

Pressure Drag

One of the drag forces

experienced by an object in a fluid

flow is pressure drag. The

pressure drag varies around the cylinder’s surface, typically depicting a turbulent flow, as

shown in figure 9.

Figure 9: Pressure variation around the cylinder's surface

To calculate the pressure drag, we can sum the components of the pressure force exerted

along the flow’s free-stream direction. The components are split into 3 parts, as shown in

figure 9. Between the A and B section the pressure is acting as a pushing force on the surface

of the cylinder. This section can be calculated using the following formulae, as shown in

figure 10.
Figure 10: Formulae for calculating pressure drag (Section A and B)

Between the B and D section the pressure is acting as a pulling force force on the surface of

the cylinder, in the


Figure 11: Formulae for calculating pressure drag (Section B and D)
direction opposite to

the flow direction. This section can be calculated using the following formulae, as shown in

figure 11.

Between the D and F section the pressure is acting as a pulling force on the surface of the

cylinder, but it is acting in direction of the flow. This section can be calculated using the

following formulae, as shown in figure 12.

Figure 12: Formulae for calculating pressure drag (Section A and B)


Table 3: Cylinder Pressure Drag Data (Cylinder with tappings)

Tube Area (m^2) Δi/j/k 1400 RPM 1600 RPM 1800 RPM

Number Pressure Drag (N) Pressure Drag (N) Pressure Drag (N)

1 0.00107 0.0717 0.963 0.1177

2 0.00107 0.0687 0.0898 0.1110

3 0.00107 0.0560 0.0712 0.0845

4 0.00107 0.0286 0.0381 0.0477

5 0.00107 0.0061 0.0043 0.0035

6 0.00107 -0.0189 -0.0250 -0.0340

7 0.00107 -0.0346 -0.0440 -0.597

8 0.00107 -0.0325 -0.0413 -0.0559

9 0.00107 -0.0215 -0.0265 -0.0374

10 0.00107 -0.0089 -0.0121 -0.0167

11 0.00107 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000

12 0.00107 0.0100 0.0124 0.0171

13 0.00107 0.0198 0.0241 0.0337

14 0.00107 0.0277 0.0359 0.0505

15 0.00107 0.0377 0.0472 0.0660

16 0.00107 0.0477 0.0575 0.0810

17 0.00107 0.0545 0.0675 0.0952

18 0.00107 0.0620 0.0734 0.1030

19 0.00107 0.0661 0.0753 0.1099

20 0.00107 0.0634 0.0740 0.1120

21 0.00107 0.0589 0.0717 0.1124

Table 4: Total Pressure Drag Data (Cylinder with tappings)

RPM 1400 1600 1800


Total Pressure Drag (N) 0.5625 0.6901 0.9413

Table 4 shows the pressure drag of the cylinder (with tappings), it can be seen that the values

increase as the speed increases, as expected.

Friction Drag

Since we have obtained the total drag and the total pressure drag, we can now calculate the

total friction drag, as shown on table 5.

Table 5: Friction Drag Data (Cylinder with tappings)

Fan Speed (RPM) 1400 1600 1800

Total Drag (N) 1.06 1.36 1.72

Total Pressure Drag (N) 0.5625 0.6901 0.9413

Friction Drag (N) 0.4975 0.6699 0.7787

(Total Drag - Pressure Drag)


Reynold’s Number

The Reynolds number is the ratio of the fluid’s inertial forces to the viscous forces and is

used to determined if the flow condition is laminar or turbulent. The Reynold’s number can

be calculated using the formulae shown in in figure 13. The free stream velocity also various

across different wind speeds, therefore this can be calculated using the formulae shown in

figure 14.

Figure 13: Formulae for calculating Reynold's number.

Figure 14: Formulae for calculating the free stream velocity.

Data:

- Air Viscosity (μAIR) = 1.1622 x10-5 kg/ms

- Air Density (ρAIR) = 1.204 kg/m3


Table 6: Calculated Reynold’s number and free stream velocity.

Shape Pitot Static Tube V Reynold’s Number

(Pa) (m/s)

Cylinder (with tappings) 60.6 10.033 623641

79.0 11.456 712053

101.5 12.985 807108

Cylinder (without tappings 62.1 10.157 631313

81.3 11.621 722344

105.0 13.207 820906

Square 54.5 9.515 630849

71.9 10.929 724589

91.7 12.342 818299

Diamond 52.1 9.303 616803

69.1 10.714 710340

87.2 12.035 797968

Raindrop (forward) 63.7 10.287 682020

84.6 11.855 785982

107.0 13.332 883933

Raindrop (Backward) 61.1 10.074 667956

81.3 11.621 770500

103.2 13.093 868095

Table 7: Reynold’s Number Comparison

Shape Calculated Reynold’s Accepted Reynold’s Number Literature

Number Value

Cylinder 712053 >10000

Square 724589 >10000


Diamond 710340 >10000

Raindrop (forward) 785982 >100000

Raindrop 770500 >100000

(backward)

Regarding Reynold Number,  the calculated value for each shape are within the expected

value. Raindrop in its forward orientation had the highest value while the diamond shape

recorded the lowest. From the table it can be observed that flow is turbulent.

Drag Coefficient

The drag coefficient is a dimensionless quantity that quantifies the resistance of an object in

the fluid environment. The drag coefficient can be can calculated using the formulae shown

in figure 15.

Table 8: Calculated values for drag coefficient

Shape F-total drag (N) V (m/s) S (m2) Drag Coefficient

Cylinder (with trappings) 1.06 10.033 0.01368 1.278

1.36 11.456 0.01368 1.258

Figure 15: Formulae to calculate the drag coefficient


1.72 12.985 0.01368 1.239

Cylinder (without trappings) 1.03 10.157 0.01368 1.212

1.32 11.621 0.01368 1.187

1.52 13.207 0.01368 1.058

Square 2.09 9.515 0.0146 2.627

2.72 10.929 0.0146 2.591

3.39 12.342 0.0146 2.532

Diamond 2.36 9.303 0.0146 3.103

3.09 10.714 0.0146 3.063

3.87 12.035 0.0146 3.040

Raindrop (forward) 0.90 10.287 0.0146 0.968

1.09 11.855 0.0146 0.882

1.27 13.332 0.0146 0.813

Raindrop (backward) 0.86 10.074 0.0146 0.964

1.08 11.621 0.0146 0.910

1.36 13.093 0.0146 0.903

Table 9: Drag coefficient Comparison

Shape Calculated Drag Coefficient Literature Value Drag Coefficient

Cylinder 1.058 - 1.278 .85

Square 2.532 - 2.627 2

Diamond 3.040 - 3.103 1.5

Raindrop (forward) 0.813 - 0.968 0.1 - 0.5

Raindrop (backward) 0.903-0.964 0.1-0.5


From this Wind tunnel experiment, we were able to observe and calculate the effects of

external fluid flow on different objects that vary in shape. This experiment opened up

firsthand experience of the fluid flow relating to real-world applications, such as building

constructions aerodynamics and aeronautics. From the calculated data of the experiment and

the theoretical data, it can be observed that there are minor errors which has affected some on

the values of the Reynold’s number and the drag coefficient.

Improvement

Some steps can be taken in order to improve the effectiveness and overall results of this

experiment in the future, such as:

 Upgrading the testing apparatus in order to get a consistent laminar flow so that the

drag will not be impacted by poor air flow

 Using more shapes or objects so there are more data to be gathered together and

compared to reduce errors.

 Ensuring all the shapes used for the experiment have the same surface roughness to

acquire proper drag result.

 Obtaining direct access to the raw data by exporting data to excel file, instead of

taking photo which could lead to a high-level human error.


Applications.

In Aerodynamics industry for example, the fundamental of fluid flow is crucial. This could be

proven by the design of an aeroplane body and wings which has to allow for greater lift force,

and lesser drag force in order to reduce turbulence during flight. Low drag force could also

reduce energy consumption which consequently also reduce the cost needed for fuel needed.

This experiment is also valid in real-world applications for analysing the effects of wind on

structural buildings and bridges. Often tall building is run through vigorous testings to

determine if the buildings are structurally strong in high windy areas. It is also used to design

buildings so that wind flow doesn’t affect the structure.

Similar application of aerodynamics is also found in racing car such as Formula 1. Racing car

requires streamlined body shapes so that air flows smoothly around the body to produce low

drag force so that it could consistently manoeuvre at high speeds. Racing car also requires

large amounts of downward force in order for the car to stay tightly on the ground especially

during corners. In regard of this, some aerodynamic objects could be added to the racing car

such rear wing, rear underbody diffuser, and front splitter, in order to produce downward

forces but also reduce drag. Eventually, these components which rely on fluid flow could be

significant in determine the winning or losing car by just milliseconds difference.

Other application that this experiment is holds valid, is that of generating energy through

wind turbines. In this particular application, the reverse is required, more drag is needed to

push the turbines around to generate electricity.


Conclusion
From this experiment, we were able to enhance our understanding of external flow, how it

works and its various applications in real world scenarios. With the assistance of the wind

tunnel and the manometer that was attached to it, the fluid (air) was made to flow through

various shapes and key data such as absolute pressure and drag force were able to be

recorded. This experiment was repeated with three different fan speeds (1400, 1600 and 1800

RPM). The values obtained were then used to calculate the Reynolds number and drag

coefficient for each object. These were then compared with the literature value for each

shape.

From the comparisons made between the experimental values and the literature values, it can

be seen that the all the calculated values for the Reynolds number align with the accepted

values. However, the same cannot be said for the drag coefficient as most of the results

somewhat align with the literature values with the exception of the diamond shaped object

which had a value much higher than the expected value. This could be down to the fact that

there could be an error that was unaccounted for or a lack of repetition of the experiment.

This issue can be easily resolved by improving the procedure to ensure we can get better data

that can align with the accepted values.


References
Munson, B., Okiishi, T., Huebsch, W., & Rothmayer, A. (1990). Fundamentals of fluid

mechanics.

Dr Phuoc Huynh (2019) Lab Notes - WindTunnelExperiment.pdf