Wind Shear's Full Scale, Rolling Road, Automotive Wind Tunnel

Windshear Full Scale Rolling Road Wind Tunnel

In January 2008 Wind Shear, a division of US machine tool builder Haas Automation, completed construction on one of the most advanced automotive wind tunnels in the world. The full scale tunnel is located adjacent to Concord Regional Airport in Concord, North Carolina. The commercial operation was designed for vehicles from race industries: stock car, formula one, indy car, drag racing, as well as production car industries.

Wind Shear's tunnel is a closed air circuit, temperature controlled system built around a rolling road. The rolling road, akin to a giant treadmill, is 3 meters wide by 9 meters long and accommodates full size cars. Air and rolling road speeds are coordinated up to 180 MPH (290 KPH). Air temperature, critical to repeatable data collection, is maintained at a constant 75 degrees F. (24 C.), plus or minus one degree. Air is moved through the massive 15,000 square foot (1500 square meter) air circuit at the maximum rate of 2.85 million cubic feet (80,700 cubic meters) per minute by a 5100 HP (3750 KW) motor and 29 carbon fiber blades 22 feet (6.7 meters) in diameter.

In the wind tunnel industry, size is everything. The blockage effect is the condition where air flow in the wind tunnel is partially blocked by the vehicle. The blockage becomes more critical as the cross section of the test vehicle increases relative to the size of nozzle and airstream. As the vehicle increases in size relative to the nozzle, test data become less reliable as increased blockage effects the quality of the actual windstream. [http://www.scs-europe.net/services/ess2002/PDF/manuf-3.pdf] Windshear's solution was to build a sufficiently large air circuit. Nozzle size is a relatively large 180 square feet (16.7 square meters).


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