Wind Tunnel Testing

Since the 1870ies wind tunnel tests have been used to simulate the wind load process on civil engineering structures. With measuring equipment developing from simple water-filled pressure gauges to high-frequency multi-signal pressure scanning systems wind load processes have been researched over the last century. Today, state-of-the-art simulation and measurement techniques are proven methods to investigate the load effect of wind on engineered structures and their response. 

Instantaneous velocity field of a simulated turbulent boundary-layer flow in a wind tunnel.

Figure 1: Illustration of the mean wind speed profile and the local velocity variations due to turbulence content in the flow. The variation of the wind speed is largest near the ground and decreases with height.

Even though extensive work has been done the recreation of wind load at reduced scale still holds some challenges especially when comparing the laboratory observations to full-scale.

  • Generation of wind-like airflow at reduced scale with particular focus on the turbulence structure.
  • Wind load process on civil engineering structures and their response.
  • Simulation of in-cloud icing on structural bridge cables.
  • Wind conditions in urban areas.
  • Various wind tunnel testing and analysis techniques.

The majority of projects conducted at CEAero include experimental work in a wind tunnel or are based on results from wind tunnel testing. For this reason a special course is frequently given to prepare students for their projects.