Scientists at MIT have something really impressive in their “arsenal”: a wind tunnel, the most advanced device of this kind in the United States.
The implementation of this project began five years ago, and the resulting tunnel can reach a wind speed of 370-380 km / h. It also has the largest testing department in American academic centers. This copy replaced the previously used version which was 80 years old.
As Mark Drella of the MIT AeroAstro explains, the previous tunnel was already in poor condition. Its structure and load-bearing foundations, instrumentation, thrust and propeller were in a state of decay. As a result, the airflow quality was low and the tunnel itself was too loud and energy-inefficient. As a result, it did not meet modern standards for wind tunnel testing.
These have been used in the world of science for over 150 years. One of them was used by the famous Wright brothers who conducted tunnel experiments before making their historic voyage in 1903. They tested their wing designs in an open wind tunnel they built. It wasn’t as advanced as recent versions, of course, but it did the job.
MIT’s new wind tunnel is the most advanced in the entire United States
Wind tunnels are great when we want to distribute air over a stationary object in a controlled manner. This provides aerodynamic data without actually flying. By having the ability to spot potential flaws during the design phase, engineers can implement their ideas faster and more efficiently. They can also estimate how much fuel the plane will use, how slow it will land and how long it will take to take off. In addition, it is possible to monitor loads on objects such as bridges, buildings or vehicles, for example cars or bicycles.
As with any engineering project, size and cost were the most important factors. We can’t just take the traditional tunnel design and fit it into the relatively small space of the old tunnel and expect it to work. We had to design a completely new architecture with many innovations in terms of fan, diffuser, deflation and angle blades to give the new tunnel the required capabilities within the limits of the existing rooftop of the old tunnel.Drella explains
The entire chassis is powered by a 2500 hp engine. The drive train has only one moving part, which is a huge improvement over the previous version. The motor speed is controlled by a variable frequency motor which is more energy efficient and quieter. The tunnel wall opposite the fan can withstand a load of up to 80 tons, which is equivalent to the force of a hurricane of more than 380 kilometers per hour.
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