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EML 4905 Senior Design Project

A B.S. THESIS
PREPARED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE
IN
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

VERTICAL WIND TUNNEL (VWT)


Final Report

Alexis Anchundia
Jorge Botero
Freddy Leal
Advisor: Professor Andres Tremante
November 16, 2011

This B.S. Thesis is written in partial fulfillment of the requirements in EML 4905.
The contents represent the opinion of the authors and not the Department of
Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
Ethics Statement and Signatures

The work submitted in this B.S. thesis is solely prepared by a team consisting of Jorge Botero, Freddy
Leal, and Alexis Anchundia and it is original. Excerpts from others work have been clearly identified,
their work acknowledged within the text and listed in the list of references. All of the engineering
drawings, computer programs, formulations, design work, prototype development and testing reported
in this document are also original and prepared by the same team of students.

Jorge Botero Freddy Leal Alexis Anchundia

Team Leader Team Member Team Member

Dr. Andres Tremante

Faculty Advisor

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Table of Contents
Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................................... iii
Table of Figures ............................................................................................................................................. v

List of Tables .............................................................................................................................................. vii

List of Equations .......................................................................................................................................... vii

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

Problem Statement ....................................................................................................................................... 2

Fuel Prices ................................................................................................................................................. 3


Pilot Salary ............................................................................................................................................ 5
Skydiver Salary ...................................................................................................................................... 5
Motivation..................................................................................................................................................... 6

Literature Survey........................................................................................................................................... 7

History ....................................................................................................................................................... 7
What Owners and Users Need To Know About Vertical Wind Tunnels ................................................... 9
Conceptual Design ...................................................................................................................................... 11

First Idea.................................................................................................................................................. 11
Non-recirculating VWT Advantages ........................................................................................................ 13
Second Idea ............................................................................................................................................. 14
Recirculating VWT Advantages ............................................................................................................... 15
Proposed Design ......................................................................................................................................... 17

Safety .......................................................................................................................................................... 18

Global Learning ........................................................................................................................................... 20

Tnel de Viento Vertical.......................................................................................................................... 20


Gua de Mantenimiento en Espaol ................................................................................................... 20
Unit System of the Vertical Wind Tunnel by Section .............................................................................. 23
Warning Signs in English and Spanish ..................................................................................................... 25
Timeline....................................................................................................................................................... 26

Team Member Responsibilities .............................................................................................................. 27

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Analytical Analysis and Structural Design ................................................................................................... 28

Structural Design ......................................................................................................................................... 35

Major Components ..................................................................................................................................... 37

Correction Chamber................................................................................................................................ 37
Contraction Cone .................................................................................................................................... 37
Flight Chamber (Test Chamber) .............................................................................................................. 37
Diffuser.................................................................................................................................................... 38
Fans Chamber ......................................................................................................................................... 38
Fan Selection ........................................................................................................................................... 38
Other Sections......................................................................................................................................... 39
Final Design ................................................................................................................................................. 39

Final Design Trials ................................................................................................................................... 50


System Safety Limitations ....................................................................................................................... 67
Cost Analysis ............................................................................................................................................... 68

Prototype System Description .................................................................................................................... 68

Prototype .................................................................................................................................................... 69

Prototype Cost Analysis .............................................................................................................................. 81

Plan for Test Prototype ............................................................................................................................... 83

Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 87

References .................................................................................................................................................. 89

Appendix ..................................................................................................................................................... 91

Appendix A: Moody Diagram .................................................................................................................. 91


Appendix B: Absolute Roughness table from Fluid mechanics by Binder, R.C. (1973) ....................... 92

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Table of Figures
Figure 1. 72 Month Average Retail Price Chart............................................................................................. 4
Figure 2. 12 Month Average Retail Price Chart............................................................................................. 4
Figure 3. Month Average Retail Price Chart.................................................................................................. 4
Figure 4. FIU VWT Conceptual Design Gate .................................................................................................. 6
Figure 5. Leonardo Da Vinci Parachute Model ............................................................................................. 7
Figure 6. Outdoor VWT Drawing. ................................................................................................................ 11
Figure 7. First Concept Design. ................................................................................................................... 11
Figure 8. Non-Recirculating VWT Skyventure. ............................................................................................ 12
Figure 9. Non-recirculating VWT Drawing. ................................................................................................. 12
Figure 10. Non-Recirculating VWT Patent Drawing .................................................................................... 13
Figure 11. Recirculating VWT Drawing........................................................................................................ 14
Figure12. Recirculating VWT Patent Drawing ............................................................................................. 15
Figure 13. Proposed Design Drawing. ........................................................................................................ 17
Figure 14. Design with Warning Signs in English and Spanish. ................................................................... 25
Figure 15. Project Milestone Timeline. ....................................................................................................... 26
Figure 16-17. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on First Approach on 16 ft and 17 ft Diameter Test
Chamber...................................................................................................................................................... 31
Figure 18-19. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on First Approach on 18 ft and 19 ft Diameter Test
Chamber...................................................................................................................................................... 31
Figure 20-21. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on First Approach on 20 ft Diameter Test Chamber. ........ 32
Figure 22. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on the Second Approach on 16 ft Diameter Test Chamber ... 33
Figure 23. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on the Second Approach on 18 ft. Diameter Test Chamber .. 34
Figure 24. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on the Second Approach on 17 ft. Diameter Test Chamber .. 34
Figure 25. Section 5 Final Design. ............................................................................................................... 47
Figure 26. Section 7 Final Design. ............................................................................................................... 50
Figure 27. Trial 1 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 51
Figure 28. Trial 1 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 52
Figure 29. Trial 1 Isometric View of Prototype. .......................................................................................... 52
Figure 30. Trial 2 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 53
Figure 31. Trial 2 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 54

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Figure 32. Trial 2 Isometric View of Prototype. .......................................................................................... 54
Figure 33. Trial 3 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 55
Figure 34. Trial 3 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 56
Figure 35. Trial 3 Isometric View of Prototype. .......................................................................................... 56
Figure 36. Trial 4 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 57
Figure 37. Trial 4 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 58
Figure 38. Trial 4 Isometric View of Prototype. .......................................................................................... 58
Figure 39. Trial 5 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 59
Figure 40. Trial 5 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 60
Figure 41. Trial 5 Isometric View of Prototype. .......................................................................................... 60
Figure 42. Trial 6 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 61
Figure 43. Trial 6 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 62
Figure 44. Trial 6 Isometric View of Prototype. .......................................................................................... 62
Figure 45. Trial 7 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 63
Figure 46. Trial 7 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 64
Figure 47.Trial 7 Isometric View of Prototype. ........................................................................................... 64
Figure 48. Trial 8 Top View of Prototype. ................................................................................................... 65
Figure 49. Trial 8 Front View of Prototype.................................................................................................. 66
Figure 50. Trial 8 Isometric View of Prototype. .......................................................................................... 66
Figure 51. Seabreeze Turbo-aire. ................................................................................................................ 74
Figure 52. Thecnovate Aparatus- Multispeed Fan. ..................................................................................... 74
Figure 53. Section 1 Drawing of Prototype (in)........................................................................................... 75
Figure 54. Section 2-4 Drawing of Prototype (in). ...................................................................................... 76
Figure 55. Section 3 Drawing of Prototype (in)........................................................................................... 77
Figure 56. Section 5 Drawing Prototype (in). .............................................................................................. 78
Figure 57. Section 6 Drawing Prototype (in). .............................................................................................. 79
Figure 58. Section 7 Drawing of Prototype (in)........................................................................................... 80
Figure 59. Built Prototype. ......................................................................................................................... 81
Figure 60. Velocity Vs Radius Profile........................................................................................................... 86
Figure 61. Moody Diagram......................................................................................................................... 91

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List of Tables
Table 1. VWT Section One measures in US Units and SI Units. .................................................... 23
Table 2. VWT Section Two measures in US Units and SI Units. .................................................... 23
Table 3. VWT Section Three measures in US Units and SI Units. ................................................. 24
Table 4. VWT Section Four measures in US Units and SI Units. ................................................... 24
Table 5. VWT Section Five measures in US Units and SI Units. .................................................... 24
Table 6. VWT Section Six measures in US Units and SI Units. ...................................................... 24
Table 7. VWT Section Seven measures in US Units and SI Units. ................................................. 25
Table 8. Flow Rate and Velocity Required at the Different Test Chamber Diameter Shapes. ..... 30
Table 9. Section 1 of Final Design. ................................................................................................ 40
Table 10. Section 2 of Final Design. .............................................................................................. 40
Table 11. Section 3 of Final Design. .............................................................................................. 41
Table 12. Section 4 of Final Design. .............................................................................................. 41
Table 13. Section 5 of Final Design. .............................................................................................. 42
Table 14. Section 6 of Final Design. .............................................................................................. 47
Table 15. Section 7 of Prototype .................................................................................................. 48
Table 16. Prototype Air Flow ........................................................................................................ 72
Table 17. Prototype Cost Analysis ................................................................................................ 83
Table 18. Experimental Pressure Difference in Pascal. ................................................................ 84
Table 19. Experimental Standard Deviation. ................................................................................ 84
Table 20. Air Speed and Reynolds Number. ................................................................................. 85
Table 21. Air Speed Dimensionless Coefficients. .......................................................................... 85
Table 22 - Absolute Roughness Table. .......................................................................................... 92

List of Equations
Equation 1. Bernoullis Equation. ................................................................................................. 29
Equation 2. Relative Roughness Equation. ................................................................................... 29
Equation 3. Cross Sectional Area Equation................................................................................... 30

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Equation 4. Flow Tate Equation .................................................................................................... 30
Equation 5. Speed of Sound .......................................................................................................... 70
Equation 6. Mach Velocity of the Tunnel ..................................................................................... 70
Equation 7. Reynolds's Number.................................................................................................... 71
Equation 8. Prototype Velocity. .................................................................................................... 71
Equation 9. Mach Tunnel Vs. Mach Prototype ............................................................................. 71
Equation 10. Reynolds's Equation ................................................................................................ 72

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Abstract

Lately the practice of skydiving has reached a high level of popularity among people
around the world. Men and women exteriorize their sympathy for the practice of this extreme
sport due to the adrenaline rush and exiting feelings inherent to this kind of activity. Even
though of its popularity, skydiving practice could not be performed by a large number of
people, not only because the high prices that involves a free-fall session but also due to people
not feeling completely safe jumping from an aircraft.

An action taken to solve this problem was the creation of vertical wind tunnels in order
to use those as skydiving simulation tools. Vertical wind tunnels are created different, they
come in different shapes and sizes; nevertheless, the most common types are the blowers or air
pusher and sucker or vacuum. The first kind of tunnels are independent of any type of external
structure, for some of this blower models, walls can be attached to the structure, however, it
seems that without walls is more appealing for skydivers. Skydivers that first learn in an
environment with no external structures or walls are able to fly any kind of vertical wind tunnel
because it requires strong flying abilities. Additionally, air bags and safety nets cover the
majority of the tunnel in order to offer a safe environment. Other types of wind tunnels are
completely dependent on the external structures which hold the fans. The fans are able to be
placed either on top or at the bottom of the flying chamber. In contrast with the blowers or air
pusher, skydivers that learn how to fly in a wall to wall environment seem to have more
difficulties when switching to other type of wind tunnel configuration. By using VWTs, the
skydiving practice as entertainment or as sport has become not only more affordable but also
more enjoyable.

VWT 1
Problem Statement

This Vertical Wind Tunnel (VWT) design is considered to have a test chamber diameter
between 16 ft. to 20 ft. in order to hold multiples participants at the same time, increasing the
free-fall limited time and reducing the cost to maintain the skydiving adventure feeling.

Skydiving has evolved in such a fast way, that it has encouraged more people to practice
it. The goal of designing it more affordable with newer technology and equipment is still
complicated to reach. In the late seventies, different alternative models were developed in
order to find new ways of skydiving. The best option reached, was an indoor simulator. These
were built and quickly gained popularity among the community. The limited fly time and the
high prices of jumping from an aircraft were the two main issues that engineers had to face in
order to design the free-fall simulators.[1]

Free-fall time depends on the altitude reached by aircraft. This is one of the most
important limitations. A typical skydive jump consists of individuals exiting from an aircraft such
as an airplane or a helicopter, finishing with the landing. Free-fall jump altitudes oscillates
anywhere between 3,000 to 13,000 feet with periods of time of a 40 to 60 seconds. However,
at higher altitudes, the skydivers may free-fall for period of time over a minute, with oxygen
equipment help before activating a parachute to slow the landing down to a safe speed.

Skydiving prices vary from facility to facility. Single jumps usually start from $190 and
could go up to $300, when all the training levels have been completed and the jump does not
require an instructor to accompany the jumper along the free-fall experience. Cost of jumping is
linked to other factors, such as fuel prices, crew salaries, and other maintenance or service
charges that may apply.

VWT 2
Fuel Prices
Gasoline rate prices are between the most visible prices in our multifaceted economy.
Customers directly track on those gasoline prices increases, and in the last 33 months these
prices have experienced extravagant increases. In recent weeks, prices of gasoline have
exceeded $3.50 a gallon in some Florida markets. The petroleum business plays an important
place in todays economy. Increases in gasoline rates affect not only individuals, but also, may
influence several industry business areas. There is no other kind of industrys performance
more carefully examined or extremely suffered like gasoline industry.
The relationship between gasoline prices and the demand fuel efficiency is important
for environmental policy regardless of higher prices; demand for gasoline keeps on growing.
Gasoline registers stay at the lower end of the regular range. These rising prices command
everyones attention. Like most aspects, gasoline prices are forcing transformation in the airline
industry including sky diving industry. Few years ago, fuel expenses were 20% of the airlines
cost. Up today some airlines fuel expenses go up to 70%. Back in 2008, fuel expenses became
the number one cost of airlines.[1-3]
The gasoline average retail prices are showed in figures 1, 2, and 3. Figure 1 shows a 72 months
window USA average gasoline prices. Figure 2 shows last 12 months window USA average
gasoline prices. Figure 3 shows last 3 months window USA average gasoline prices. Increases
are clearly defined. This situation does not look to have an emergency exit due to the
industrialized countries instability economy, world tension relationship between some
countries, and more recently Libyas war and Japan earthquake and tsunami. [1-3]

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Figure 1. 72 Month Average Retail Price Chart

Figure 2. 12 Month Average Retail Price Chart

Figure 3. Month Average Retail Price Chart

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As it was previous called, skydiving market is also affected for gasoline prices increases.
In order to understand the complete frame, some skydiving aircraft variables have to be
considered. For example, a single engine Cessna Turbostation air with a capacity of 6 people
maximum with airplane prices varying from $250,000 for a used plane to $574,000 for a new
plane [6].The skydiving company has to consider some aspects of this aircraft operation. The
operating costs per mile are $0.63, and the operating cost per hour is $65. This plane gives a
maximum range of 630 miles, a maximum altitude of 10,000 ft, with a gas full service which is
50 gallons. There is important to consider that each take off consume at least one fourth of the
total airplane fuel.

Pilot Salary
Pilots are not well paid when working for skydiving planes. This fact might be consider
as an advantage for the free-fall jump final price because skydiving plane pilot salaries could
start from $15 USD per hour. After one year skydiving pilots reached up to $1,500/mo, and
after a few years up to $2,000/mo. Pilots can get this type of job to have hours of experience in
order to apply to other different type of industries. Skydiving company pilots, in most of the
cases, own the skydiving company and/or the airplanes.

Salary information was an average taken from a website through different job opportunities
using a key words one engine pilot [7].

Skydiver Salary
Skydivers are known because they have one of the most adrenaline pumper jobs;
however, many people may be surprised to know that they earn as much as an elementary
teacher. Instructors salary depends on where the instructor works and how many jumps he
does. In addition, the wages will increase if the skydiver packages its own parachutes. In the
United States, skydivers are often paid around $25 to $30 USD per jump. It means for a yearly
gross payment of $30,000, skydivers instructors have to make around 1,000 jumps [8].

Combining all these aspects is easy to understand why jumping on a free-fall or


skydiving the prices reached up to $300 USD for 60 seconds free-fall experience. On the other

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hand, in a vertical wind tunnel practice, costumers are able to experience flight time or free-fall
simulation for a price that not exceeds $50 USD, flight for up to 120 seconds. It is easy to
understand why people in general have a new experience jumping in vertical wind tunnel
preferences over the old experience jumping from an aircraft bearing in mind this big
difference.

Motivation

At the beginning of this term, many


different projects were taken into consideration.
Projects like the battle-bot, NASA Moon-buggy
race, the human powered vehicle challenge, or
the human powered helicopter were
considered; however, Professor Andres
Tremante, from the Mechanical Engineering
Department at FIU, suggested our team to work

Figure 4. FIU VWT Conceptual Design Gate on the design of a vertical wind tunnel with a

larger test chamber diameter comparing with actual designs. Recreating this project will involve
many Engineer aspects, and at the same time, vertical wind tunnel applications are involved
directly with an economic profit grow for designers and owners. In addition with vertical wind
tunnel applications, current designs are smaller than 16 ft. diameter test chamber and only few
designs are equal to 16 ft. for a diameter test chamber. This 16 ft. diameter will allow having
multiple skydivers flying at the same time. There is important to understand that vertical wind
tunnels are a great alternative for skydiving training; as a matter of fact, the Bodyflight
Bedford is a VTW location in U.K which holds the Bodyflight World challenge. This competition
brings together experienced skydivers around the world to compete for cash prizes. Formation
Skydiving and Free fly are the two categories open to participate.
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Additionally, skydive from aircrafts is a weather dependent sport; wind and weather can
affect the jump. One of the team members booked in a jump and on the day of the jump, the
skydiving location called him to reschedule the jump due to scatter rain on the drop zone. This
would never happen on an indoor skydiving.

Literature Survey

History
Skydiving or parachuting was originally started in China around the 1100s. Persons found
natural high structures where jumping and floating to the ground below were relatively safely.
However, skydiving is a lot older that many people
think. Leonardo Da Vinci designed something that
showed a wood structure, in a parachute position
with a pyramid form. But the history of skydiving
as sport practice has a fresher start on. The first
skydiving jumper was Jacques Garnerin who used
to jump from static balloons in 1797 performing
unbelievable shows. After showing his theatrical
jumps he uses a parachute to have a safe landing.
When airplanes were invented, everything changes
on skydiving; free-fall jumps move to a higher level.
Airplanes made possible parachute jumps and more
spectacular skydiving performances. These
advantages were set up because airplanes are
mechanical devices which are able to move faster
Figure 5. Leonardo Da Vinci Parachute Model
than balloons. Even though, it is important to
remember that skydiving was not known as skydiving until the 1950s, and this term was related
to Raymond Young. Earlier than 1950s, everybody identified it as parachuting. First commercial

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skydiving schools started around 1957 for business purposes. Today skydiving is known as an
extreme sport and as a popular hobby [9].

Frank H. Winham designed and built the first horizontal wind tunnel in the earlier 1870s.
This design was a small unit with an open circuit. This wind tunnel was created to generate a
smooth steady airflow generated through a test chamber area. After that in 1901, the Wright
brothers built a larger test chamber diameter wind tunnel. Many different shaped were placed
for study purposes in the test chamber. Wind applied forces were measured and analyzed. The
first vertical wind tunnel design appeared in the 1920's. This vertical wind tunnel design was an
annular return style, designed to keep space. Vertical wind tunnel designs were developed for
rotate testing airplane models in the 1930s. These designs were later used for skydiving tests.
The first vertical wind tunnel built with sufficient airspeed to generate airflow for human flight
started in 1943 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. This design had an
approximately cost of $750,000 USD and it was first time operated in 1944. A 1,000 horsepower
electric motor powered this vertical wind tunnel. The electrical motor turns a four bladed,
sixteen foot diameter fan at up to 875 RPM. Twelve feet wide flight area was available for this
vertical wind tunnel. Many vertical tunnels were developed before this one, but no one was
designed for human test flights. In 1964, skydiver Jack Tiffany put himself in a risk and he tried
this VWT. His risk was successful because he was the first skydiver flying in a vertical wind
tunnel. In 1970's the US Armys tried the first group free-fall demonstration. Jean St-Germain of
St. Simon, Canada filed a patent in 1981. St-German named it "levitationarium for air flotation
of humans". Jean St. Germain was the first person to develop a vertical wind tunnel for human
flight purposes and it was available for the community in 1984. Since then many VWT designs
have been tried and different companies around the world are still testing different shapes,
materials and equipment in order to have higher efficiency and lower price combination. [10]

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What Owners and Users Need To Know About Vertical Wind Tunnels

1. How much does a vertical wind tunnel cost?

There is important to consider the dimensions, individual demands on the service, and
tunnel location, a wind tunnel project involves an estimated total investment anywhere
from 2 to 5 million US dollars. This amount includes the purchase and installation of the
technical equipment, construction costs for tunnel and service building. This estimated
value does not cover start-up expenses including instructor training, publicity, etc.

2. Who is able to fly in a vertical wind tunnel?

Vertical Wind tunnels are developed for general public as entertainment, and for
professional skydiving for educational, training, and simulation purposes.

As entertainment application:

Consumers with a normal physical condition and standard fitness level.


Four-year olds and older first time-skydivers with instructor supervision.
Persons with serious cardiovascular problems, pregnant women, back- and
spinal disc pain or frailty as well as alcohol and drug abuse are no allow to
participate in indoor skydiving.

3. What parameters have to be considered for developing and operating a vertical wind
tunnel?

It is important to consider the following before you develop and operate a vertical wind
tunnel:

Location and infrastructure.


Entertainment, skydivers.
Tunnel size.

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Service level.
Sponsorship.
Construction and operating regulations. (those include construction codes and
environmental limitations)

4. Can the tunnel operate 24/7?

Vertical wind tunnel operations strongly depend on the facility location. This restriction
is based on reference to the local noise level restrictions. After this restriction is
covered, the system is able to operate almost 24 hours a day.

5. How many workers are needed to operate a wind tunnel facility?

Employees amount depends on the vertical wind tunnel size and if its ratio will be used
for other different reasons than entertainment or skydiver. Vertical wind tunnel
operation requires from 15 to 20 employees.

6. Can the Vertical Wind tunnel operate year round?

Yes. A vertical wind tunnel system is developed to operate year round because it is not
weather dependent.

Different and additional maintenance procedures are developed depending on the


vertical wind tunnel location.

7. Are Vertical Wind tunnels safe?

Yes. Vertical Wind tunnels are designed and built with the highest standards of
engineering and it is essential to keep quality and safety. Vertical Wind tunnels will be
certified and the Technical Equipment will be analyzed with the regulations of primary
safety standards. [11]

VWT 10
Conceptual Design

At the beginning several ideas were considered in order to develop our design. The
ideas considered were obtained by taking into account the ideas for previous vertical wind
tunnels. Vertical wind tunnels are easy to be classified. There are only two types of VWT.

1. Outdoor vertical wind tunnel offers an


open air experience. The original VWT design was
developed using this specifications. As an advantage,
outdoor devices are able to be used as a portable tool.
As a disadvantage, portable devices have small flexible
walls, and sometimes these devices do not have walls or
protection around the flight chamber, making the
experience impressive for audience.

Figure 6. Outdoor VWT Drawing.

2. Indoor vertical wind tunnel includes recirculating and non-recirculating designs.

First Idea
The first idea considered for the design was in fact one
not very far from the devices that already exist. To begin with
the system, this has at the bottom an element which objective
is to correct the path of the airflow in order to make it enter
the system avoiding vortices and turbulences. Next, a part of
the design which objective will be to accelerate the flow until
it reaches its maximum velocity, this section is known as the
contraction cone. As its name indicates the section has a
conical shape and its cross sectional area decreases as it
approaches to the flight chamber.
Figure 7. First Concept Design.

VWT 11
The flight chamber is the most important section of the system. This section is the one
that will hold the users while simulating a free-fall. Also, this section will develop the maximum
velocity of the system due to its cross sectional area, which is the smallest of the whole
simulation device. Right after the flight chamber there will be a diffuser. This section will also
have a conical shape. The cross sectional area of the diffuser will gradually increase in order to
decelerate the air flow as it leaves the test chamber. On top of the diffuser there is going to be
a section that will house the fans that will create the air circulation throughout the entire
device.

A non- recirculating vertical wind tunnel device comprises


a flight chamber where in the user is able to experience a free-
fall through the
atmosphere from the
safety of a closed flight
chamber. Connected
fans above the
chamber generate
enough induced airflow
through the system Figure 8. Non-Recirculating VWT Skyventure.

ducts. This airflow

Figure 9. Non-recirculating VWT Drawing. provides full support to the skydiver user during the flight
experience. A performance area adjacent to the flight chamber will allow the user to get in and
/or out of the chamber without having to significantly change the airflow within it. An operator
will be placed in a control room, adjacent to the flight chamber. From this room the operator
will observe the users and safely control the operation of the fans.

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Non-recirculating VWT Advantages

The non-recirculating VWT has a flight chamber located on the inlet side of the fans for
improved airflow control and stability and has a non-returning airflow.
The non-recirculating VWT offers a
device with a plurality of fans
which is much more economic than
using one larger fan to support a
user and, in the case of failure of a
fan, the rest of the fans can
maintain the airflow through the
flight chamber.
The non-recirculating VWT has
transparent windows in the flight
chamber and low profile to meet
building constrains.
The non-recirculating VWT enables
to use ambient air which is drawn
into the inlet contraction and
provides an initial zero velocity
which is important for calculation
purposes.
The non-recirculating VWT is
designed in a way that it allows the
incoming airflow to be accelerated
Figure 10. Non-Recirculating VWT Patent Drawing
to its maximum velocity, it reduces

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turbulence as much as possible, and it allows a smooth airflow to enter the air chamber
that reduces the amount of turbulence in the flight chamber, thereby making the flight
experience much more enjoyable for the user.
The non-recirculating VWT takes air from the ambient because having a non-returning
airflow ensures that through the system will always pass fresh air, therefore avoiding
the complete device from overheating in special the flight chamber.
The non-recirculating VWT has a shape of the inlet contraction that creates a relatively
flat airflow velocity profile across the width of the flight chamber. Due to this effect the
risk of having different airflow velocities within the flight chamber is eliminated. This will
provide a uniform air column that will not only support the user but also avoid the risk
of falling-off. [13]

Second Idea
The second idea that came to our minds was to develop a system that presents a certain
similarity to the re-circulating wind tunnel device but without the air re-circulation. The system
will consist of an air inlet located at ground level. Air will follow a path that will lead it through
the tunnel until it gets to the fans section. The fans will accelerate the air flow to rush it into the
flight chamber. A section of the tunnel will present a reduction of the cross sectional area to a
reduction cone to make the air flow achieve its maximum flow as it enters the test chamber.
The test chamber or flight chamber will hold the users and in
this case, due to the fact that part of the system is located
beneath the ground, will be closer to the floor. This will
enable the visitors to appreciate the users while they enjoy
the simulation. After the test chamber, there will be a
diffuser which purpose is to decrease the air flow velocity
while its cross- sectional area gradually enlargers its
dimensions. One of the main concerns in this type of
systems is always the possible turbulence that can take
Figure 11. Recirculating VWT Drawing
place. In order to solve this problem vanes are located in

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places where the direction of the air flow is change. This is done in order to avoid the creation
of vortices in the system.

A re-circulating vertical wind tunnel is a vertical wind tunnel flight system which includes
a test flight chamber where a skydiver is able to experience free-fall simulation. Induced airflow
is generated through a duct by connected fans above the test chamber to hold the skydiver in a
simulated free-fall.

The air returns from the fans outlet to the inlet using one or two ducts. Divergent small
air blind windows are included on a minimum one of the duct segments. Temperature is
regulated using the air blind windows making ambient air going into the system. An important
reduction of height will be considered if many duct segments are used having diverging walls.
This height reduction adds commercial value to the system. Adding different effects on the roof
and walls could generate amazing view scenes of
people in flight.

Recirculating VWT Advantages

The recirculating vertical wind tunnel is able


to offer a VWT enjoyment device having a
test chamber located on the inlet side of
many fans which are in turn connected to
many expanding return air ducts; in that
way minimizing the height and at the same
time maximizing efficiency of the enjoyment
system.

The recirculating VWT is able to make a test


Figure12. Recirculating VWT Patent Drawing
chamber on the inlet side of the fans for

VWT 15
better airflow quality and speed, at the same time having higher safety environment for
skydivers and lower power consumption.
The recirculating VWT is able to offer a VWT having two-stage performance areas next
to each other and connected to the test chamber, it means that the system allows
people to walk in between the two without stopping the airflow.
The recirculating VWT is able to have transparent windows allowing audience and
instructors outside the test chamber to see into during the performance.
The recirculating VWT is able to provide a VWT having many smaller fans angled in a
non-parallel position somewhat than a single larger fan, which could be more expensive
and with a difficult maintenance.
The recirculating VWT is able to have more than one return air ducts to preserve heat at
the same time that the system is reducing energy consumption and noise and allowing
all-weather operation.
The recirculating VWT is able to have up to two return ducts; however, the system may
have more fans than return ducts.
The recirculating VWT is able to have fans housed in low shape, distributing casings that
allow fans to be built up as closely as possible; it means that more than one fan can be
connected to each return air duct. This connection allows the system to reduce the long
transition ducts that increases width or height of the complete system.
The re-circulating VWT is able to have an inactive air exchange system with adaptable
inlet/outlet gates. This system mechanically discards heated air from the entire system
and collects cooler ambient air in order to have efficiently control the temperature
inside the vertical wind tunnel reducing fans extra work. [12]

VWT 16
Proposed Design

The two indoor vertical wind tunnel designs had been chosen as a proposed design.
Calculations have been started in order to find higher efficiency and lower price. After analyzing
previous designs and comparing those design efficiency, costs, and environmental concerns,
the proposed design was considered to be a hybrid design. This hybrid design will involve a
Non-Recirculating Vertical Wind Tunnel with a semi- closed loop, which give a J shape or a
double and inverted J shape to the system. The final consideration will be based on the fan
size and the amount of fans needed; this design appears with the fans located at the horizontal
section of the system. The semi-closed loop will allow having a fans room in a horizontal
position under the ground level. Analysis in both designs has in common 16 ft diameter test
chamber and an ideal airflow velocity of 160 mph inside the test chamber. There are different
variables to consider before taking any decision. As soon as a decision is taken, two different
geometrical test chambers will be simulated: cylindrical and octagons cross section areas.

Figure 13. Proposed Design Drawing.

VWT 17
Safety

Safety is a big concern in a vertical wind tunnel design. During the research process,
many facts have been considered in this aspect. There are two important issues to take in
consideration: skydiver safety and mechanical or system safety. Both characteristics are equally
important and both need to be addressed as a combination for safety standards.

Skydiver safety involves features that have to be followed by the skydiver and addressed
by the instructor to avoid accidents. Skydivers do not have to be worried about falling, jumping
or having a fear of heights because they start to flight only one foot above the ground. Their
first flight also includes a highly trained instructor holding the skydivers arm. Depending on the
skydiver comfort, airflow level may increase; it means the skydiver would be able to go higher
inside the test chamber and challenge himself with different movements keeping a high level of
safety. There is nothing that could hit the skydiver at any point during the flight experience;
nevertheless, skydivers have to wear a helmet inside the Vertical Wind Tunnel. This is the most
basic method to be safe inside a vertical wind tunnel; helmet protects skydivers head from an
unsafe landing and/or during a sudden movement. It is well-known that a skydive jumping from
a 10,000 ft. or higher altitude allows a unique experience and the skydiver is able to feel the
wind rushing at high speed; at this point, is uncertain to measure safety due to the free-fall. It is
important to have in consideration that all first time jumpers need to watch a training video
before skydiving. Vertical wind tunnel experience offers at least ninety five percent of this wind
speed experience, and at the same time, skydivers will have a safety landing because there is a
net at the bottom of the fly chamber. This net is designed to be strong enough to carry up to
eight skydivers at the same time, and skydivers are allow to step on the net without thinking
about the net holds.

System or mechanical safety involves concerns that have to be taken in consideration by the
company which will provide the service. Those features are related to the design, maintenance,
operations, and environmental concerns. Designers consider safety for each part of the entire
system. The pre-fan Chamber is located between the exterior and the fans. One end face of this
VWT 18
chamber is designed perpendicular to the ground and is in direct contact to the exterior in
order to take the air at the environmental pressure. This end is designed to be at least ten feet
higher than the ground surface. A metallic net is attached to it to avoid the entrance of non-
permitted persons.

Fans are located in an area parallel to the ground surface. This chamber is designed with
the length enough to permit access to the fans for maintenance, assembly, and reparation. Air
is driven through a conduct to a pre-chamber which has a conical shape with the higher
diameter in the bottom in order to direct the airflow to the test chamber. This structure could
be modified to a belt shape in order to maximize efficiency. This pre-chamber configuration
allows a speed increase and would avoid vortex in the system and, at the same time, would
help to reach the minimum requested airspeed in the test chamber, keeping the skydivers
safety.

Flight area or test chamber has a security net at the bottom which keeps skydivers in a
secure location if any mechanical problem occurs and the fans need to be turned off. Safety
glass or plastic will cover the test chamber walls in order to avoid possible wall breaks and air
filtering during a flight session.

Diffuser also has a conical design with an increase angle of five to ten degrees. This
shape allows the system to avoid vortex and vacuum areas. This diffuser will reach a height that
enables the system to reduce the airspeed down to a value to keep the skydiver in a safety
developing area; the airflow inside the system is unable to push the skydiver to a higher and
unsafe place or outside the system. The design is considered to have the diffuser at least five
feet higher than the calculated maximum height reached by the skydivers. Diffuser external end
has a roller blind system which will remain closed when the structure is in non-operative mode
in order to prevent rainwater and/or dust damages.

VWT 19
Global Learning

Global learning is a way where all parts involved are able to trade information and learn
the uses of technology from cultural diversity. Internet is a way to communicate around the
world; it makes possible the interaction of different cultures while allowing their participation
in a globalized world. Nowadays issues like hunger, global warming, and deadly deceases can be
addressed and more people can contribute with ideas in order to find solutions which in the
long run will benefit all.

Until this point human society has never faced global challenges of such great
magnitude, this is one of the reasons why it is important to unite and teach the up-coming
generation about the current challenges and the ones that will come along the way.

This senior design team intends to develop a design which will be simple to follow in
different countries. It has been taken into consideration the availability and accessibility of key
parts for the design. For example, if the propose design is built in Europe, it is easier to buy fans
that are manufactured in Europe rather than in the United States. This aspect not only will
reduce cost of shipping, but also the cost of maintenance.

Our senior design team will considerate the following aspects:

A multi-lingual manual.
The use of different units system.
Warning signs in a variety of languages.

Tnel de Viento Vertical


Gua de Mantenimiento en Espaol

Uno de los aspectos de importancia a considerar dentro de este diseo del tnel de
viento vertical es el justo y correcto funcionamiento del sistema en general. Es imperioso que

VWT 20
se establezcan y regulen los distintos parmetros bajo los cuales el diseo desarrollara una
eficiencia ptima. La razn ms importante por la cual se desea alcanzar una optimizacin de la
eficiencia del sistema es desarrollar el mejor funcionamiento posible del dispositivo, para de
esta manera asegurar un mayor tiempo de duracin del diseo. A continuacin algunos puntos
a tener en cuenta para el correcto mantenimiento del sistema.

1. Es recomendable que los alrededores del orificio por el cual el aire hace su ingreso al
sistema (la entrada a la primera seccin del diseo) sea un rea restringida al paso del
pblico. Tomando esta medida se evitara que algn objeto extrao ingrese de manera
indeseada al sistema, evitando as poner en riesgo el funcionamiento de los
ventiladores y la integridad de los usuarios.
2. Una capacidad mxima de ocho (8) personas ser admitida dentro de la cmara de
vuelo. El objetivo de restringir el diseo a la cantidad de personas anteriormente
mencionada es evitar que los ventiladores realicen un trabajo excesivo. De esta manera
se asegura un mejor funcionamiento de los ventiladores y un mayor tiempo de vida de
los mismos.
3. Las rejas y codos corregidores de flujo, colocados antes y despus de la cmara de
ventiladores (tercera seccin del diseo), deben ser mantenidas en el mejor estado
posible. La correcta posicin y buen estado de los elementos previamente mencionados
determinara la calidad de flujo que recorrer el sistema y evitara cualquier formacin
indeseada de torbellinos o turbulencias.
4. El rango de velocidades entre las cuales el dispositivo debe operar est establecido
entre 120 mph y 160 mph. Este rango permite al diseo desarrollar velocidades plenas
para experimentar un simulacro de cada libre satisfactorio, evitando al mismo al mismo
tiempo forzar excesivamente los ventiladores al momento de realizar el trabajo
requerido.
5. Debido a la exposicin constante del sistema a la intemperie es recomendable
peridicas inspecciones y limpieza a menudo para que, en caso de encontrar algn
desperfecto imprevisto, establecer las posibles reparaciones necesarias.

VWT 21
6. Es necesario mantener una habitual revisin y someter a limpieza a los ventiladores, del
mismo modo como es recomendado mantener vigilancia de los motores de los
ventiladores. Tanto motores como ventiladores necesitan de apropiada lubricacin para
evadir corrosin y calentamiento del equipo.
7. Es aconsejable llevar a cabo chequeos de las instalaciones elctricas con regularidad. De
esta manera se podr prevenir cualquier desperfecto elctrico y, en caso de llegar a
detectarse alguno, tomar las medidas correspondientes para aplicar los correctivos
necesarios a tiempo. En el caso de suscitarse este tipo de daos, es altamente
recomendable que la solucin sea provista por personal especializado.
8. Es importante tener en cuenta la diferente informacin que puede ser obtenida del
sistema mientras desarrolla su funcionamiento. Datos tales como la presin a lo largo
del sistema, as como la velocidad del aire desarrollada dentro del mismo, puede
ayudarnos a determinar si el diseo est funcionando de la manera esperada o no.
9. Es importante el chequeo de los cojinetes y rodamientos de los ventiladores y los
motores. El apropiado mantenimiento y lubricacin de estos elementos ayuda a
disminuir impactos causados por vibraciones en el sistema. El evitar vibraciones ayuda a
disminuir los riesgos de daos de las maquinarias as como daos en la estructura del
tnel.
10. Es trascendental proveer al usuario con la indumentaria correcta y necesaria para al
momento de experimentar el simulacro de cada libre dentro del sistema. Vestimenta
apropiada, lentes protectores, casco, coderas y rodilleras, entre otros son el vestuario
que se debe facilitar a los usuarios con la finalidad de salvaguardar su integridad y
asegurarles una grata experiencia.
11. La maya protectora ubicada en la parte baja de la cmara de vuelo debe estar lo
suficientemente tensionada y bien sujeta a las paredes del sistema. La tensin de la
maya de proteccin debe ser suficiente para soportar el peso de los usuarios en caso de
caer sobre ella.
12. Es aceptable recomendar que a cada usuario le sea provedo un instructor. El instructor
se encargara de estar pendiente del usuario a medida que este disfruta del simulacro
VWT 22
dentro de la cmara de vuelo. El instructor se encargara de mostrar a los usuarios la
manera apropiada de desenvolverse dentro del simulador y se asegurara tambin de
que la indumentaria mencionada anteriormente este siendo utilizada de manera
apropiada por los usuarios.
13. Por factores de estricta seguridad, el peso de los usuarios ha sido restringido a estar en
un rango entre 90 libras, como peso mnimo, y 200 libras como peso mximo. Al
establecer estas restricciones se busca salvaguardar el bienestar del usuario y evitar
cualquier experiencia no deseada.
14. Debido a que este dispositivo ha sido diseado con el propsito de simular la prctica
de un deporte extremo, en este caso paracaidismo, es importante hacer nfasis en la
historia mdica de los usuarios. Es importante asegurarse que los practicantes no
presenten cuadros de riesgo cardiaco o problemas de presin sangunea que pongan en
riesgo la salud de los mismos.

Unit System of the Vertical Wind Tunnel by Section

Table 1. VWT Section One measures in US Units and SI Units.

Section one
US Units SI Units
Height 28.63 ft 8.73 m
Width 28.63 ft 8.73 m
Length 6.56 ft 2m
Velocity 44.3 mph 71.3 Km/h

Table 2. VWT Section Two measures in US Units and SI Units.

Section Two
US Units SI Units
Height 7.158 ft 2.18 m
Width 28.63 ft 8.73 m
Length 36.875 ft 11.2 m
Velocity 44.3 mph 71.3 Km/h

VWT 23
Table 3. VWT Section Three measures in US Units and SI Units.

Section Three
US Units SI Units
Height 28.63 ft 8.73 m
Width 28.63 ft 8.73 m
Length 43.02 ft 13.1 m
Velocity 44.3 mph 71.3 Km/h

Table 4. VWT Section Four measures in US Units and SI Units.

Section Four
US Units SI Units
Height 7.158 ft 2.18 m
Width 28.63 ft 8.73 m
Length 36.875 ft 11.2 m
Velocity 44.3 mph 71.3 Km/h

Table 5. VWT Section Five measures in US Units and SI Units.

Section Five
US Units SI Units
Max. Diameter 32.31 ft 9.85 m
Min. Diameter 17.04 ft 5.19 m
Height 24.57 ft 7.49 m
Inlet Velocity 44.3 mph 71.3 Km/h
Oulet Velocity 158 mph 255 Km/h

Table 6. VWT Section Six measures in US Units and SI Units.

Section Six
US Units SI Units
Diameter 17.04 ft 5.19 m
Height 24 ft 7.32 m
Velocity 158 mph 255 Km/h

VWT 24
Table 7. VWT Section Seven measures in US Units and SI Units.

Section Seven
US Units SI Units
Max. Diameter 22.20 ft 6.77 m
Min. Diameter 17.04 ft 5.19 m
Height 29.52 ft 9m
Inlet Velocity 158 mph 255 Km/h
Oulet Velocity 86 mph 138 Km/h

Warning Signs in English and Spanish

Figure 14. Design with Warning Signs in English and Spanish.

VWT 25
Timeline

Figure 15. Project Milestone Timeline.

VWT 26
Team Member Responsibilities

As a team, we decided to have three hour meetings, twice a week. During the first
meeting, research responsibilities were assigned, until the proposed design has been defined.

Freddy Leal is responsible for:

The investigation of parameters of skydiving practices and VWT free-fall


simulation practices
The analysis of skydiving jump procedures and different vertical wind tunnels.

The gathered information will be used for the estimation of the total cost that each one
of those involves, considering the increase of gasoline prices as a principal issue.

Alexis Anchundia is responsible for:

The investigation of non-recirculating vertical wind tunnels, advantages,


disadvantages and previous designs.
Read and update the team about the most asked questions about vertical wind
tunnels.

Jorge Botero is responsible for:

The investigation of recirculating vertical wind tunnels, advantages,


disadvantages and previous designs.
Giving a review about skydiving and vertical wind tunnel history.
Comparing Freddy Leals analysis in order to demonstrate that a VWT is more
profitable than free-fall jumps from aircrafts.

VWT 27
Analytical Analysis and Structural Design

During the Vertical Wind Tunnel proposed design selection and analysis processes,
different aspects were considered. As a reference point for the design analysis, a constant
maximum velocity through the test chamber was defined to be 160 MPH, and different test
chamber diameters were considered from 16 ft. up to 20 ft. Previous vertical wind tunnel
designs were analyzed and based on efficiency versus costs analysis; efficiency versus
environmental concerns analysis; and costs versus environmental concerns. Recirculating
vertical wind tunnel systems have higher efficiency but at the same time higher costs. Non-
recirculating vertical wind tunnel is not as efficient as recirculating vertical wind tunnel;
nevertheless, airflow rate velocity is able to be reached inside the test chamber. Cost is able to
be reduced down to at least fifty percent less than recirculating vertical wind tunnel costs.
Noise is the principal environmental concern considered due to the fans operations. In both of
the vertical wind tunnel systems the noise is able to reach levels between 110 and 120 Dba SPL
(sound pressure level), which clearly exceed the safe noise exposure limits stipulated in DA PAN
40-501 [14]. Recirculating vertical wind tunnel noise level is partially controlled because the
system is a closed loop and the acoustic materials that were used to cover walls are able to
absorb the noise. The noise generated outside the system is able to be reduced down to 85
Dba. Non-recirculating vertical wind tunnel noise level could be partially controlled by using
acoustic materials covering the walls.

The proposed design was considered to be a mix design. This mix design involves a
Non-recirculating vertical wind tunnel system with a semi-closed loop, which gives the system a
J shape; this design appears with the fans located at the horizontal section of the system. As
soon as the airflow speed and the test chamber dimension are established, other sections
dimensions are able to be calculated and established, and then the required power generated
from the fans is calculated.

VWT 28
The mathematical relation between airflow speed, airflow pressure, and airflow energy
is easy to be demonstrated from the Bernoullis equation

Equation 1. Bernoullis Equation.

where, p is pressure.

is fluid density.

is specific weight.

Z is height.

h friction head losses.

First approach taken in consideration for the proposed design was a Non-recirculating
vertical wind tunnel, allowing for all the system a cylindrical shape with a same diameter size; a
test chamber with a height or length defined to be 26.25 ft., pre-chamber length defined to be
double the height than the test chamber 52.50 ft., and diffuser length defined to be triple the
height than the test chamber 78.75 ft. As it was previously defined, the maximum airflow speed
at the test chamber would be 160 MPH maximum. Four different materials, cast iron, concrete,
commercial steel, and aluminum 1060 will be considered as pre-chamber and diffuser
materials, and plastic and glass were always considered as test chamber materials. Absolute
roughness (k) was taken from the tables in the reference book [15]. Relative roughness was
calculated dividing the absolute roughness by the test chamber diameter

Equation 2. Relative Roughness Equation.

where, r is relative roughness.

k is absolute roughness and d n is chamber diameter.


VWT 29
Using the Moody diagram, friction factor was calculated for all the different materials
and diameters.

The airflow maximum speed at the test chamber was already defined to be 160 MHP; it
means 234.667 ft/s or 2,816.00 in/s. Cross sectional area for a cylindrical shape was calculated

Equation 3. Cross Sectional Area Equation

values of d n were analyzed in a range of 16 ft to 20 ft.

Equation 4. Flow Tate Equation

where, Q is flow rate.

v = maximum velocity at the test chamber.

a = cross sectional area of the test chamber.

Table 8. Flow Rate and Velocity Required at the Different Test Chamber Diameter Shapes.

D(ft) a (ft) Q (ft/s) Q (in/s) V (in/s)


16 201.06 47182.71 81,532,061.71 2,816.00
17 226.98 53264.86 92,042,060.59 2,816.00
18 254.47 59715.62 103,189,020.20 2,816.00
19 283.53 66534.99 114,972,940.53 2,816.00
20 314.16 73722.98 127,393,838.87 2,816.00

After the different flow rate was calculated for different diameters, simulation software
was run using SolidWorks. Different materials were also applied. The environmental
temperature assumed in all the calculations was 68.09 oF.

VWT 30
Figure 16-17. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on First Approach on 16 ft and 17 ft Diameter Test Chamber.

Figure 18-19. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on First Approach on 18 ft and 19 ft Diameter Test Chamber.

VWT 31
Figure 20-21. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on First Approach on 20 ft Diameter Test Chamber.

First approaches of the design show a uniform velocity due to the considered sections
have the same diameter and same material. Minor losses do not affect the system at this point.
Changes on this approach are necessary due to the system will need areas where the air
velocity decrease in order to keep the skydivers safe inside the system.

SolidWorks software results were analyzed. It was easy to visualize the airflow velocity
losses due to the fiction caused by the walls. The velocity generated makes the air go beyond
the predetermined security design limits; it means any skydiver will be easily expulsed from the
system due to the excessive air force generated.

Modifications were considered for this first attempt. The diffuser shape was modified
from a linear shape to an inverted conical shape in order to reduce the airflow velocity after the
test chamber. This modification involves the inverted conical angular opening between five to
ten degrees (5o-10o). Diffuser height was kept and a 5o angular opening was applied to avoid
excessive losses and air vortex formations. This specific shape increase maintains the airflow as

VWT 32
much as uniform as is possible. The exit diffuser diameter was calculated to be 28.78 ft for a 16
ft diameter test chamber.

Pre-chamber was modified as well from a linear


shape to a conical shape in order to increase the
airflow velocity before the test chamber. This
modification allows the design to keep the original
airflow calculated, having a higher cross sectional
area due to the diameter increase and a lower
initial airspeed velocity. There is important to keep
the angular closing between five to ten degrees
(5o-10o). Pre-chamber height was kept and a 10o
angular closing was applied to avoid excessive
losses and air vortex formations. This specific
shape reduction maintains the airflow as much as
uniform as is possible. The entrance pre-chamber

diameter was calculated to be 34.51 ft. for a 16 ft. Figure 22. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on the
Second Approach on 16 ft Diameter Test Chamber
diameter test chamber. The maximum velocity
reached in the test chamber was calculated to be 170.96 MPH. This velocity was initially
calculated without considering the minor loses.

The entrance pre-chamber diameter was calculated to be 35.51 ft. for a 17 ft. diameter
test chamber. Pre-chamber height was kept and a 100 angular closing was applied to avoid
excessive losses and air vortex formations. This specific shape reduction maintains the airflow
as much as uniform as is possible. The exit diffuser diameter was calculated to be 30.77 ft. for a
17 ft. diameter test chamber. Diffuser height was kept and a 5o angular opening was applied to
avoid excessive losses and air vortex formations. This specific shape increase maintains the
airflow as much as uniform as is possible. The maximum velocity reached in the test chamber

VWT 33
was calculated to be 170.74 MPH. This velocity was initially calculated without considering the
minor loses.

The entrance pre-chamber diameter was calculated to be 36.51 ft. for an 18 ft. diameter
test chamber. Pre-chamber height was kept and a 10o angular closing was applied to avoid
excessive losses and air vortex formations. This specific shape reduction maintains the airflow
as much as uniform as is possible. The exit diffuser diameter was calculated to be 31.77 ft. for
an 18 ft. diameter test chamber. Diffuser height was kept and a 5o angular opening was applied
to avoid excessive losses and air vortex formations. This specific shape increase maintains the
airflow as much as uniform as is possible. The maximum velocity reached in the test chamber
was calculated to be 170.52 MPH. This velocity was initially calculated without considering the
minor loses.

Figure 23. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on the


Figure 24. Flow Rate and Velocity Analysis on the
Second Approach on 18 ft. Diameter Test Chamber
Second Approach on 17 ft. Diameter Test Chamber

Same analysis was considered for test chamber diameter for 19 ft. and 20 ft. Following
the previous tests, pre-chamber height was kept and a 10o angular closing was applied to avoid

VWT 34
excessive losses and air vortex formations. This specific shape reduction maintains the airflow
as much as uniform as is possible. As a result, the airflow velocity increases from the pre-
chamber to the test chamber, where the airflow maximum velocity is reached; diameter test
chamber Diffuser height was kept and a 50 angular opening was applied to avoid excessive
losses and air vortex formations. This specific shape increase maintains the airflow as much as
uniform as is possible. The maximum velocity reached in the test chamber was calculated to be
170.30 MPH and 170.08 MPH respectively. This velocity was initially calculated without
consider the minor loses. Then the airflow velocity decreases from the test chamber to the
diffuser. This conical shape allows the system to control the airflow velocity inside the diffuser
to avoid any accident by taking the skydiver beyond the predetermined security design limits.
The airflow through the diffuser towards to one side of the system at the same time velocity
decreases. This behavior is far away from the expected because an empty area of the diffuser.

Structural Design

Since this project will only be focusing on the aerodynamic design of the vertical wind
tunnel for skydiving, the following external components may be taken into consideration for
future development of engineering projects.

The development of this part of this project will start with the literature survey of existing
vertical wind tunnels and others structures built for entertainment. Important aspects like
shape of the building, expected visitors rate, and structural analysis have to be performed in
order to meet the building requirements.

VWT 35
In addition, it is important to know where the vertical wind tunnel is going to be built since
external factors like corrosion and temperature play an important role when building the
structure. For example, the selection of material criteria will be different for an area with high
levels of corrosion if the VWT is built near the coastline rather than inland.

The external structure will consist of a 3 stories building. Since the team intents to build
a hybrid vertical wind tunnel; meaning a mix between a closed and open VWT, the fly chamber
can be placed in such way that can be seen from the main floor. The location of the vertical
wind tunnel fans is going to be under ground level, this intent to reduce the noise coming out
from the fans engine. As well, there is no need to worry about high temperature in that
enclosed region due to continuous flow of fresh air. The maintenance room will be located at
ground level and above the VTW fans area; this will enable to access that section in order to
provide maintenance when is needed without the necessity to turn off the entire system. A
small section where people can seat down and have a snack is considered to be built on the
second floor. Additionally, along with the snack bar, the lockers, meeting, and air condition
room are located on the second floor. The meeting room can be used to teach first time
skydivers how the system operates.

The control system room can be built either on the first or second floor as long as the
controller can have a clear vision of the fly chamber. There will be restrooms in all the three
floors with easy accessibility to the costumers. Moreover, the third floor can be designated for

VWT 36
operational offices. Finally, the parking lot area will be able to hold at least 20 cars including
employees.

Major Components

The design of a vertical wind tunnel brings into consideration the selection of several
components that will take part into the design construction. In order to make the best selection
possible, it was necessary to consider different parameters inherent to the materials and
components such as the different brands available in the market, material properties, power
outlet, costs, etc.

Correction Chamber
The air flow is not always as uniform as needed. In order to achieve the desired air flow
uniformity the correction chamber is brought into consideration. The main purpose of the
correction chamber is to smooth down the air stream as it rushes into the system.

Contraction Cone
The initial air flow velocity in the system is not sufficient to support the user in the flight
chamber. In fact, the velocity of the air when entering the contraction cone is much lower than
the velocity required into the test chamber. The contraction cone section is destined to
accelerate the air flow speed until it reaches the necessary velocity value that will enable the
skydivers to be held into the test chamber.

Flight Chamber (Test Chamber)


This section is ordained to house the different acrobatics that will be performed by the
skydivers. Along this section the design is intended to attain its maximum velocity due to a
reduction of the cross sectional area. It is important to detail that the air flow ought to enter
the test chamber with absolute lack of turbulence and a fully uniform velocity profile.

VWT 37
Diffuser
The main objective of this section is to generate a deceleration of the air flow velocity
exiting from the flight chamber. The air slows down as a response to the diffuser conical shape.
Another important intention of the diffuser is to obtain a homogeneous air draft.

Fans Chamber
This section will hold the fans that will create the air flow by spinning their blades. Due
to this phenomenon right after this chamber a suction section as well as a pressure section is
originated.

Fan Selection
There is not an effective method to follow that satisfies all the fan applications;
however, general concerns like: power consumption, cost, noise generated, service life, and
reliability of the equipment have to be considered when selecting fans.

At first, calculations were made in order to determine the flow rate of air going through
the duct. The air flow is measured in CFM or cubic feet per meter. After finding the amount of
air necessary to flow through the system, the team started to research about the types of fans
that will be able to deliver the specific flow rate needed. Centrifugal, axial, and radial design are
some of the sorts of fans to do research on.

Since the team is looking to have large flow rates delivered and low pressure increment,
the team leaned towards the axial type. Several manufacturers were contacted in order get fan
curve. This curve predicts the pressure and flow rate of operation for a family fan. It is also
important to select a fan with its peak efficiency near the range of operation.

Since this project will need large amount of flow rate, multiple fans will be needed. At
this point, the arrangement or configuration of the fans is unknown, yet the team is already
aware that a parallel arrangement is more suitable to meet the requirements needed. For two
identical fans in parallel the volumetric flow rate will be the double in the fan curve. In the
contrary, for a two identical fan in series, the pressure drop will be doubled.

VWT 38
Additionally, it is important to be aware that fans will work in a 70 % to 80 % range of
efficiency. The reason for this is not to overheat the equipment and not to reduce the life of the
fans.

Other Sections
There are other sections that will vary their shape and size depending on the specific
application of the tunnel. Elements like meshes, also known as honeycombs, are destined to
reduce the turbulence in several sections of the tunnel such as the test chamber, the
contraction cone and the fans chamber. There are also turning vanes, which main objective will
be to modify the path of the air flow from horizontal to vertical and vice versa.

Final Design

The system was divided in seven different sections to be studied, measured, and
analyzed easier. Then the sections were assembled and an air flow computational analysis was
run. From system goals, the maximum air velocity at the test chamber expected to be 160 MPH
with a diameter of 17 ft. on the test chamber. With this numbers, the air flow on the test
chamber was calculated to be 3,195,891.6 CFM. Those three values were the ideal values of the
system. Real numbers were based on the information obtained by the fan provider. Alphair was
the fan provider chosen because this company offered us a fan with a fan diameter of 148 in.
This fan will be able to generate up to 1,000,000 CFM with previous specifications called.
Alphair design offers an efficiency of 84.6% maximum with a pressure range from 10 in Wg to
11.54 in Wg. This information limited each fan to generate 846,000 CFM maximum. In order to
raise the system to the ideal air flow, it is necessary to have a minimum of four fans with the
previous characteristics which are going to offer the system 3,384,000 CFM maximum. One of
the safety values which were considered on the system was related with the minimum air flow
the fan will be able to generate between the pressures ranges indicated. This value is
considered to be efficiency over 78%. This information limited each fan to generate a minimum
of 780,000 CFM, combined to be 3,120,000 CFM.

VWT 39
Losses were calculated on each of the seven sections of the system in order to verify if
the Alphair fans will be able to work on the system and the air will flow thought the system
without any problem. Section dimension were calculated based on the Alphair information.

Section 1 was calculated to be a square area. The material used on this section was
concrete.

Table 9. Section 1 of Final Design.

Height (ft) Width(ft) Length (ft) airflow speed (ft/s) Reynoldss Number
28.63 28.63 6.56 64.98 12,421,352.94
Dynamic Viscosity (ft/s) Diameter equiv. (ft) f (concrete) hf (ft) Gravity (ft2/s)
0.000169 32.31 0.012 0.00675 32.185

Section 2 was divided and the system was calculated as rectangular areas which were
substituted by equivalent circular sections only for calculations. This procedure is commonly
used and allow to calculated losses on the system. In this procedure predetermined losses are
established based on the section longitude; it means that depending on the longitude of the
section a percentage of losses is provided. Usually, losses are calculated to be between 0.0001
to 0.00015% of the section with a 90o direction change.

Section 2 was calculated to be a square area. The material used on this section was
concrete.

Table 10. Section 2 of Final Design.

Height (ft) Width(ft) Length (ft) airflow speed (ft/s) Reynoldss Number
7.158 28.63 36.875 64.99 922,934.9112
Dynamic Viscosity (ft/s) Diameter equiv. (ft) f (concrete) hf (ft) Gravity (ft/s)
0.000169 2.40 0.019 0.00575995 32.185
Divisions (n=L/H) Diagonal (ft) r (ft) Length equiv. (ft) Total Hf (ft)
98.73 40.49 10.71 1,454.016 0.569

VWT 40
Section 3 was calculated to be a square area. The material used on this section was
concrete.

Table 11. Section 3 of Final Design.

Height (ft) Width (ft) Length (ft) airflow speed (ft/s) Reynoldss Number
28.63 28.63 43.02 64.98 12,421,352.94
Dynamic Viscosity (ft/s) Diameter equiv. (ft) f (concrete) hf (ft) Gravity (ft/s)
0.000169 32.31 0.012 0.027 32.185

Section 4, as section 2 was divided and the system was calculated as rectangular areas
which were substituted by equivalent circular sections only for calculations. This procedure is
commonly used and allows calculating losses on the system. In this procedure predetermined
losses are established based on the section longitude; it means that depending on the longitude
of the section a percentage of losses are provided. Usually, losses are calculated to be between
0.0001 to 0.00015% of the section with a 90o direction change.

Section 4 was calculated to be a square area. The material used on this section was
concrete.

Table 12. Section 4 of Final Design.

Height (ft) Width (ft) Length (ft) airflow speed (ft/s) Reynoldss Number
7.158 28.63 36.875 64.99 922,934.9112
Dynamic Viscosity (ft/s) Diameter equiv. (ft) f (concrete) hf (ft) Gravity (ft/s)
0.000169 2.40 0.019 0.00575995 32.185
Divisions (n=L/H) Diagonal (ft) r (ft) Length equiv. (ft) total Hf (ft)
98.73 40.49 10.71 1,454.016 0.569

Section 5 was analyzed as a contraction element. The system was calculated at the base
as a rectangular area. Equivalent diameter was calculated in order to create a transitional area.
This transitional area was able to help the system to pass from a square area to a circular area

VWT 41
involving the minimum losses. This section is one of the most critical section due to the
reduction area calculation because it involves a higher probability of losses and air vortex
formation. Reduction area was calculated using an exponential function to guarantee the air
will flow as it was expected without any vortexes that can compromise the safety of the system.
During the design, a logarithmic function will be analyzed and will be determined which shape
will guarantee the minimum losses on the system. This procedure is commonly used and allows
calculating losses on the system. In this procedure predetermined losses are established base
on the section longitude; it means that depending on the longitude of the section a percentage
of losses are provided.

Section 5 was calculated to be a square area on the base and a circular area on the top.
The material used on this section was concrete. Total losses in this section were calculated to
be 0.3885 ft.

Table 13. Section 5 of Final Design.

D1 (ft) V1 (ft/s) D2 (ft) Area (ft)


32.31 64.98 31.93 800.97
31.93 66.52 31.57 782.89
31.57 68.05 31.22 765.63
31.22 69.59 30.88 749.11
30.88 71.12 30.56 733.30
30.56 72.65 30.24 718.15
30.24 74.19 29.93 703.62
29.93 75.72 29.63 689.67
29.63 77.25 29.34 676.27
29.34 78.78 29.06 663.39
29.06 80.31 28.79 650.99
28.79 81.84 28.52 639.05
28.52 83.37 28.27 627.55

VWT 42
D1 (ft) V1 (ft/s) D2 (ft) Area (ft)
28.27 84.90 28.02 616.45
28.02 86.43 27.77 605.75
27.77 87.95 27.53 595.41
27.53 89.48 27.30 585.42
27.30 91.01 27.08 575.76
27.08 92.53 26.86 566.43
26.86 94.06 26.64 557.39
26.64 95.58 26.43 548.63
26.43 97.11 26.22 540.15
26.22 98.63 26.02 531.93
26.02 100.16 25.83 523.96
25.83 101.68 25.64 516.23
25.64 103.21 25.45 508.72
25.45 104.73 25.27 501.43
25.27 106.25 25.09 494.35
25.09 107.77 24.91 487.46
24.91 109.30 24.74 480.77
24.74 110.82 24.57 474.25
24.57 112.34 24.41 467.92
24.41 113.86 24.25 461.75
24.25 115.38 24.09 455.74
24.09 116.90 23.93 449.89
23.93 118.42 23.78 444.19
23.78 119.94 23.63 438.63
23.63 121.46 23.49 433.21
23.49 122.98 23.34 427.92
23.34 124.50 23.20 422.76

VWT 43
D1 (ft) V1 (ft/s) D2 (ft) Area (ft)
23.20 126.02 23.06 417.73
23.06 127.54 22.93 412.81
22.93 129.06 22.79 408.01
22.79 130.58 22.66 403.32
22.66 132.10 22.53 398.74
22.53 133.62 22.41 394.26
22.41 135.13 22.28 389.88
22.28 136.65 22.16 385.60
22.16 138.17 22.04 381.41
22.04 139.69 21.92 377.31
21.92 141.20 21.80 373.30
21.80 142.72 21.69 369.37
21.69 144.24 21.57 365.53
21.57 145.75 21.46 361.77
21.46 147.27 21.35 358.08
21.35 148.79 21.24 354.47
21.24 150.30 21.14 350.93
21.14 151.82 21.03 347.46
21.03 153.34 20.93 344.06
20.93 154.85 20.83 340.72
20.83 156.37 20.73 337.45
20.73 157.88 20.63 334.24
20.63 159.40 20.53 331.09
20.53 160.91 20.44 328.01
20.44 162.43 20.34 324.97
20.34 163.94 20.25 322.00
20.25 165.46 20.16 319.08

VWT 44
D1 (ft) V1 (ft/s) D2 (ft) Area (ft)
20.16 166.97 20.07 316.21
20.07 168.49 19.98 313.39
19.98 170.00 19.89 310.63
19.89 171.52 19.80 307.91
19.80 173.03 19.71 305.24
19.71 174.55 19.63 302.61
19.63 176.06 19.55 300.03
19.55 177.57 19.46 297.50
19.46 179.09 19.38 295.00
19.38 180.60 19.30 292.55
19.30 182.11 19.22 290.14
19.22 183.63 19.14 287.77
19.14 185.14 19.06 285.44
19.06 186.65 18.99 283.14
18.99 188.17 18.91 280.88
18.91 189.68 18.84 278.66
18.84 191.19 18.76 276.47
18.76 192.71 18.69 274.32
18.69 194.22 18.62 272.20
18.62 195.73 18.54 270.11
18.54 197.24 18.47 268.05
18.47 198.76 18.40 266.03
18.40 200.27 18.34 264.04
18.34 201.78 18.27 262.07
18.27 203.29 18.20 260.14
18.20 204.81 18.13 258.23
18.13 206.32 18.07 256.35

VWT 45
D1 (ft) V1 (ft/s) D2 (ft) Area (ft)
18.07 207.83 18.00 254.50
18.00 209.34 17.94 252.68
17.94 210.85 17.87 250.88
17.87 212.37 17.81 249.10
17.81 213.88 17.75 247.36
17.75 215.39 17.68 245.63
17.68 216.90 17.62 243.93
17.62 218.41 17.56 242.26
17.56 219.92 17.50 240.60
17.50 221.43 17.44 238.97
17.44 222.95 17.38 237.36
17.38 224.46 17.33 235.78
17.33 225.97 17.27 234.21
17.27 227.48 17.21 232.66
17.21 228.99 17.16 231.14
17.16 230.50 17.10 229.63
17.10 232.01 17.04 300.77

In order to keep the safety of the system, losses on this section was calculated to be
twice of the sum of the all previous 4 sections. Total losses on the section 5 were 3.885 ft.
Calculation of this section allow the final test chamber diameter to be 17.04 ft., which was
originally considered to be 17 ft.

VWT 46
Section 5 of Design.
30

20
Lenght (Ft.)

"Left Side"
"Right Side"

10

0
-20.00 -10.00 0.00 10.00 20.00
Diameter (ft.)

Figure 25. Section 5 Final Design.

Section 6 was calculated to be a circular area. The material used on this section was
glass.

Table 14. Section 6 of Final Design.

Length (ft) airflow speed (ft/s) Reynoldss Number Dynamic Viscosity (ft2/s)
26.24 234.667 23,661,098.7 0.000169
Diameter equiv. (ft) f (plastic) h f (ft) Gravity (ft2/s)
17.04 0.012 0.00675 32.185

VWT 47
The main objective of section 7 or diffuser is to generate a deceleration of the air flow
velocity exiting from the flight chamber. The air slows down as a response to the diffuser
conical shape. Another important intention of the diffuser is to obtain an homogeneous air
draft. Dimensions on the base: Diameter 17.04 ft., length 24.57 ft., diameter on the top 21.50
ft. The increase of the area has an angle of five degrees (50). Section 7 was calculated to be a
conical area with the largest diameter on the top. The material used on this section was
concrete. Total losses in this section were calculated to be 0.203 ft.

Table 15. Section 7 of Prototype

D1 (ft.) V1 (ft./s) D2(ft.) Area (ft2)


17.10 232.01 17.04 300.77
17.16 230.50 17.10 229.63
17.21 228.99 17.16 231.14
17.27 227.48 17.21 232.66
17.33 225.97 17.27 234.21
17.38 224.46 17.33 235.78
17.44 222.95 17.38 237.36
17.50 221.43 17.44 238.97
17.56 219.92 17.50 240.60
17.62 218.41 17.56 242.26
17.68 216.90 17.62 243.93
17.75 215.39 17.68 245.63
17.81 213.88 17.75 247.36
17.87 212.37 17.81 249.10
17.94 210.85 17.87 250.88
18.00 209.34 17.94 252.68
18.07 207.83 18.00 254.50
18.13 206.32 18.07 256.35
18.20 204.81 18.13 258.23
18.27 203.29 18.20 260.14
18.34 201.78 18.27 262.07
18.40 200.27 18.34 264.04
18.47 198.76 18.40 266.03
18.54 197.24 18.47 268.05
18.62 195.73 18.54 270.11
18.69 194.22 18.62 272.20
18.76 192.71 18.69 274.32
18.84 191.19 18.76 276.47
18.91 189.68 18.84 278.66
18.99 188.17 18.91 280.88
19.06 186.65 18.99 283.14
19.14 185.14 19.06 285.44
19.22 183.63 19.14 287.77

VWT 48
D1 (ft.) V1 (ft./s) D2(ft.) Area (ft2)
19.30 182.11 19.22 290.14
19.38 180.60 19.30 292.55
19.46 179.09 19.38 295.00
19.55 177.57 19.46 297.50
19.63 176.06 19.55 300.03
19.71 174.55 19.63 302.61
19.80 173.03 19.71 305.24
19.89 171.52 19.80 307.91
19.98 170.00 19.89 310.63
20.07 168.49 19.98 313.39
20.16 166.97 20.07 316.21
20.25 165.46 20.16 319.08
20.34 163.94 20.25 322.00
20.44 162.43 20.34 324.97
20.53 160.91 20.44 328.01
20.63 159.40 20.53 331.09
20.73 157.88 20.63 334.24
20.83 156.37 20.73 337.45
20.93 154.85 20.83 340.72
21.03 153.34 20.93 344.06
21.14 151.82 21.03 347.46
21.24 150.30 21.14 350.93
21.35 148.79 21.24 354.47
21.46 147.27 21.35 358.08
21.57 145.75 21.46 361.77

VWT 49
Section 7 of Design.

10
Lenght (Ft.)

"Left Side"
"Right Side"

0
-15.00 -10.00 -5.00 0.00 5.00 10.00 15.00
Diameter (ft.)

Figure 26. Section 7 Final Design.

As per final calculation on the system, total losses were calculated to be 1.77 ft. The
total losses on the section 4 to 7 were calculated to be 1.16 ft. This information guarantees the
perfect functionality of the fan for this system as per Alphair fan characteristics.

Final Design Trials


In order to test the functionality of the design several simulations were run on the
device. The software used to perform the task was solidWorks. The first report was made

VWT 50
considering only the VWT without any other elements. The simulation was run bearing in mind
the following parameters:

Volume flow rate: 2,969,084 CFM


Temperature: 70.00 F
Environment Pressure: 101,325 Pa

The first trial result showed that the maximum velocity within the system was 2,823.88
in/s (160.44 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to the
reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Also, in the pictures
given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system mostly at the
same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to finally reach
its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also noticeable how the air hits the
walls of the device as it flows by its corners.

Figure 27. Trial 1 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 51
Figure 28. Trial 1 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 29. Trial 1 Isometric View of Prototype.


VWT 52
The second trial result showed that the maximum velocity within the system was
2,821.42 in/s (160.33 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to
the reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Likewise, in the
pictures given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system
mostly at the same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to
finally reach its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also evident how the
air avoids the corner where the elbows are being used while it hits the walls of the device as it
flows by the opposite corner.

Figure 30. Trial 2 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 53
Figure 31. Trial 2 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 32. Trial 2 Isometric View of Prototype.

VWT 54
The third trial showed a result that the maximum velocity within the system was
2,821.47 in/s (160.31 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to
the reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Besides, in the
pictures given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system
mostly at the same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to
finally reach its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also perceptible how
the air behaves in the same way as in the second trial even though the fans were added to the
simulation.

Figure 33. Trial 3 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 55
Figure 34. Trial 3 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 35. Trial 3 Isometric View of Prototype.


VWT 56
The fourth trial result revealed that the maximum velocity within the system was
2,821.47 in/s (160.31 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to
the reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Also, in the
pictures given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system
mostly at the same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to
finally reach its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also evident how the
air does not change its behavior and the maximum velocity remains the same.

Figure 36. Trial 4 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 57
Figure 37. Trial 4 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 38. Trial 4 Isometric View of Prototype.


VWT 58
The fifth trial result exposed that the maximum velocity within the system was 2,821.42
in/s (160.30 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to the
reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Moreover, in the
pictures given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system
mostly at the same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to
finally reach its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also manifest how the
air flow pattern is straightened up by the corrector elements that were placed at the entrance
of the system and in front of the fans.

Figure 39. Trial 5 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 59
Figure 40. Trial 5 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 41. Trial 5 Isometric View of Prototype.

VWT 60
The sixth trial result showed that the maximum velocity within the system was 2,821.47
in/s (160.31 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to the
reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Also, in the pictures
given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system mostly at the
same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to finally reach
its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also visible how the air flow
maintains the same pattern in spite of adding the net, which does not really affect the results.

Figure 42. Trial 6 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 61
Figure 43. Trial 6 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 44. Trial 6 Isometric View of Prototype.


VWT 62
The seventh trial showed a result that the maximum velocity within the system was
2,821.47 in/s (160.31 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to
the reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Similarly, in the
pictures given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system
mostly at the same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to
finally reach its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also noticeable how by
adding the elbows at the other corner of the system the air avoids collision with the walls of the
device as it flows by both of its corners, reducing the risk of creating turbulence within the
system.

Figure 45. Trial 7 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 63
Figure 46. Trial 7 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 47.Trial 7 Isometric View of Prototype.

VWT 64
The eighth trial revealed a result that the maximum velocity within the system was
2,797.90 in/s (158.97 MPH). This value of velocity is reached inside the flight chamber due to
the reduction of the cross-sectional area that occurs in this particular section. Also, in the
pictures given by the report it can be appreciated how the air flows throughout the system
mostly at the same speed and it starts to increase, when passing through the reduction cone, to
finally reach its maximum velocity at the chamber. In these pictures it is also noticeable how by
adding the elbows to the system the air avoids collision with the walls of the device as it flows
by both of its corners, reducing the risk of creating turbulence within the system. Section 2 and
4 were modified to give the lower corners an arch shape, in order avoid a 900 angle between
the walls. The shape of corners was modified in order to keep the smooth movement of the air
within the system.

Figure 48. Trial 8 Top View of Prototype.

VWT 65
Figure 49. Trial 8 Front View of Prototype.

Figure 50. Trial 8 Isometric View of Prototype.

VWT 66
System Safety Limitations

This Vertical Wind Tunnel was developed also for entertainment purposes. Different
users were considered to take advantage of the provided service. As it was previously
mentioned, safety is the most important aspect of the system because it involves the practice
of an extreme sport. The number of skydiving users was limited due to the safety analysis.
Three main limitations were considered: users have to be twelve years of age (12) or older,
weight seventy seven pounds (77) or more and to be four feet four inches height (44) or taller.
Based on those requirements, minimum air speed inside the test chamber was calculated to be
ninety six miles per hour (96 mph). This air speed assures that the user at least will be floating
inside the test chamber and will be able to perform some limited secure movements. This
minimum air velocity was used as well as calculating the height of the section 7 or diffuser. The
diffuser minimum height was calculated to guarantee that the user will not be ejected out of
the system. This calculation was made using the test chamber diameter with an opening angle
of five degrees (5o), which will make the diffuser diameter increase while it rises to the top of
the system. Using Pythagoras equation diffuser height was calculated to be 24.57 ft. This height
was enough to keep the skydivers inside the system. An extra safety measure was taken during
the diffuser design to avoid any accident due to any overcharge or any other inconvenient
which could cause increases on the air speed and the users to be ejected out of the system.
Finally, the diffuser height was calculated to be 29.52 ft. with a top diameter of 22.205 ft.

This Vertical Wind Tunnel system is limited to a maximum static air pressure of 11.54 in
Wg due to the manufacturer Alphair fans specifications. Static pressure values under the one
previously mentioned guarantee that the air will flow through the entire system without
problems. After calculations were made on the seven sections of the device the static pressure
for the entire system was found to be 6.225 in Wg. This value of pressure is within the range of
functionality of the fans selected and allows the air to flow thought the system without any
difficulty.

VWT 67
Using SolidWorks Airflow Software, the simulation was run on the system after the design was
completed. Test and correction were analyzed. The results on the final test showed an idea of
the goal values. The calculated test chamber was 17.04 Ft. and the air speed reached on the
test chamber was 158 MPH. These values are accurate when compared against the goal values,
which were set to be 17 Ft. for the test chamber diameter and 160 MPH. as the maximum air
speed inside test chamber diameter.

Cost Analysis

Cost analysis will be based only on this Vertical Wind Tunnel duct design and its
prototype developed structure. This report will not consider external structures and other
considerations related to the construction of the Vertical Wind Tunnel. The analysis will be
based on the aerodynamic and material concerns. Major components of the duct design such
as system different chambers, wall material selection, fans selection, engine selection,
controller selection, and airflow correctors will be analyzed. Different quotes have been
required through different providers. Industrial axial fans online catalogs and efficiency tables
have been checked. Quotes answers are not received.

The design team meets two hours from Monday to Friday and five hours on Sunday to
consolidate all the information. Advisor is met once per week during a period of one or two
hours. Besides these meetings, each team member is working by himself but this time is not
computed. Total time spend in the project is 16 hours per week per team member.

Prototype System Description

As engineers, the team is responsible of building a prototype that will help to


demonstrate that the systems works properly. A scaled prototype will be considered depending
on the fan or fans considerations, like airflow generated and size needed. The best decision will

VWT 68
be made in order to reduce the cost of the system using a standard fan. The prototype will
follow the final design, including all major component specifications.

Prototype

There are some important considerations when a prototype is developed based on an


actual mechanical design. Size, scale and proportion are three important concepts related to a
prototype. Size is related to the physical dimensions of an object, sale is the relative size of
different objects and proportion is related to the harmony of scale. During a design process,
scale is usually related to the quality of the size. A prototype is a sample or model developed to
test a process or a concept in order to learn from this design. Limitations of any prototype have
to be understood since an exact simulation is not always reached and some characteristics need
to be considered and modified. Differences in materials, process and sometimes design fidelity
have to be considered and accepted because it is possible that a prototype may fail to perform
and achieve its goal. However, the prototype performance has to be acceptable. The prototype
represents the final design, and at the end a prototype is considered an effectively verification
design tool. Prototypes are usually chosen based on the real design first of all because building
a full size design is often more expensive and it can be time consuming. Also, to solve any
problem is easier on a prototype.

For this Vertical Wind Tunnel design it is important to consider the conditions of
operation of the full design. The maximum system air flow velocity reached at the test chamber
was expected to be 160 MPH in a test chamber diameter of 17 Ft. From previous calculations,
the minimum air flow speed needed on the test chamber to make a skydiver float was
calculated to be around the 88 MPH. For safety purposes, the conditions of operation
calculations were based on a minimum air flow speed of 90 MPH. In order to scale the actual
design into a prototype there are two main aspects to study, the Mach number of the tunnel
and Reynoldss number.

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Speed of sound in air was obtained in order to calculate the Mach number of the tunnel
with the following parameters:

Temperature 30 oC (293 oK)

Pressure 1 bar

Constant of air K = 1.4

Molar gas constant R=287 J/KgK

Equation 5. Speed of Sound

With this information the speed of sound was calculated to be 780.5125 MPH. Mach
number of the tunnel was calculated using the following equation

Equation 6. Mach Velocity of the Tunnel

From the previous mathematical operation the Mach number of the tunnel was
calculated to be 0.2499. For design calculations it is important to understand that the effects of
Mach are considered to be small for any Mach number smaller than 0.3. With this important
information the only consideration needed on this vertical wind tunnel is to match the
Reynoldss number.

Full size design as well as the prototype design is designed to work with the same fluid.
Air properties do not change due the size of the design. With this information it is necessary to
understand Reynoldss number of the tunnel has to be equal to Reynoldss number of the
prototype due to the following equation

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Equation 7. Reynolds's Number

where T = P are the density of the fluid

V T is the velocity of the tunnel

D T is the diameter of the tunnel

T = P are the dynamic viscosity of the fluid

The prototype diameter will be assumed in order to calculate the velocity of the
prototype considering the previous references of a maximum tunnel air velocity of 160 MPH
and a minimum air velocity of 90 MPH.

Equation 8. Prototype Velocity.

According with this information and assuming different prototype test chamber
diameters, minimum and maximum velocities of the prototype were calculated to be 764.99
MPH at 90 MPH and 1359.99 MPH at 160 MPH respectively. Mach numbers were calculated at
well to be 0.87 and 1.73. In both cases, the prototype has higher Mach numbers. According to
those numbers a second similarity using Mach numbers is needed.

Equation 9. Mach Tunnel Vs. Mach Prototype

According with Mach equation, Mach number is assumed to be equal in the original
tunnel and the prototype and Reynoldss equation can be rewritten as

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Equation 10. Reynolds's Equation

Where T is Kinematic Viscosity of the tunnel = 16.97 x 10-6 m2/s

In this case Reynoldss number was calculated to be 1.2283x107 < Re < 2.1838x107. As
per definition, a fluid is considered turbulent when its Reynoldss number is larger than 106.
Those values were calculated following the equation and those values were tasted on the
prototype equation with a Mach value of M= 0.20499, which was the value calculated on the
real design. Velocity of the prototype was calculated at the end to be equal to the velocity of
the actual design. At the end the scale of the prototype is based on the velocity due to the
prototype design only need to keep the velocity.

Three different prototype diameter dimensions were considered. Those diameters were
chosen in order to calculate the airflow requested on the prototype system according to the
formula.

Table 16. Prototype Air Flow

Prototype Maximum Minimum Maximum Air Flow Minimum Air Flow


Diameter (Ft) Velocity (MPH) Velocity (MPH) CFM CFM
0.5 160 90 2,764.6 1,655.1
1.0 160 90 11,057.4 6,620.4
1.5 160 90 24,881.4 14,895.8

Based on airflow calculations, different axial and industrial fans were analyzed in order to
produce the amount of flow requested and to fit the selected fan in the fan chamber at the
same time. Some of the fans were rejected because several of the prototype design

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specifications were not satisfied. A cooling fan was finally found. An aerodynamic "Turbo-aire"
high velocity cooling fan is able to delivery over 11,000 CFM of air which can be felt up to 20
feet away. This cooling fan consumes less electricity than a 100 watt light bulb. This fan is about
300 % more energy efficient than comparable fans. Some other characteristics of the fan are:

Whisper quiet on all three speeds.


Aerodynamic laminar air flow.
Delivers over 11,000 CFM.
Uses less electricity than 100 watt light bulb.
Manufactured in Canada.
CSA & UL listed.
Fan Type: High Velocity.
MFG Brand Name: Seabreeze.

Some of the fan specifications are:

Assembled Depth 8.0 in.


Assembled Height 17.5 in.
Assembled Width 15.5 in.
Assembly Required: Single piece.
Color: Whites.
Cord Length 11 Ft.
Depth 8.0 in.
Fan Diameter 12.0 in.
Housing Material: Polypropylene.

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Figure 51. Seabreeze Turbo-aire.

Figure 52. Thecnovate Aparatus- Multispeed Fan.

Vertical Wind Tunnel prototype was analyzed and scale in seven sections as well as the
full size design.
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Figure 53. Section 1 Drawing of Prototype (in).

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Figure 54. Section 2-4 Drawing of Prototype (in).

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Figure 55. Section 3 Drawing of Prototype (in).

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Figure 56. Section 5 Drawing Prototype (in).

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Figure 57. Section 6 Drawing Prototype (in).

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Figure 58. Section 7 Drawing of Prototype (in).

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Figure 59. Built Prototype.

Prototype Cost Analysis

As this Vertical Wind Tunnel cost analysis, prototype cost analysis will not consider
external structures and other considerations related to the construction of the Vertical Wind
Tunnel. The analysis will be based on the aerodynamic and material concerns. Major
components of the duct design such as system different chambers, wall material selection, fans

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selection, engine selection, controller selection, and airflow correctors will be analyzed.
Different quotes have been required through different providers. Industrial axial fans online
catalogs and efficiency tables have been checked. Quotes answers are not received.

First idea considered a prototype walls made of sheet metal. Section 1 to 5, and 7 were
considered on sheet metal and section 6 was considered on plastic acrylic material. Different
sheet metal companies were visited and several quotes were considered depending on the
thickness of the walls. This first idea was partially eliminated duo to the high prices of the
design.

Second idea considered a prototype walls made of wood. Section 1 to 5, and 7 were
considered on wood and section 6 was considered on plastic acrylic material. This second idea
was partially eliminated duo to wood was complicated to turned on and the design will not
have the considered shape.

Third idea considered a prototype walls made of fiber glass. Section 1 to 5, and 7 were
considered on fiber glass and section 6 was considered on plastic acrylic material. This third
idea was partially eliminated duo to fiber glass is expensive and complicated to work with and
the design will not work like it was expected.

The prototype final design considered all three previous materials used in different walls
of each of the seven sections. Sections 1 to 4 were made out of sheet metal and wood. Top and
bottom walls were made of sheet metal and right and left walls were made of wood. Section 5
and 7 were made of fiber glass. Finally, section 6 was made of sheet metal.

Fan selection was made based on the prototype calculations. Due to the high prices on
axial fans and industrial fans, the FIU transport phenomena laboratory fan was used to perform
the trials and calculations were based on the air flow reached with this fan. Pitot tube and
manometer were considered in order to calculate the air pressure on the system and then the
air velocity reached on the test section. Base on the materials prices and also taking in to the
account the work hours that each team member invested on the prototype development and

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testing on a range of 20 USD per hour for 100 hours, the prototype cost estimated is the
following:

Table 17. Prototype Cost Analysis

MATERIAL COST ($) HOURS WORKED(x3) ($) TOTAL COST ($)


1,970.21 6,000.00 7,970.21

Plan for Test Prototype

The team thought of two ways to conduct the testing of this device. The first option is to
simulate the weight of an average skydiver by using foam figures. This will imitate a scaled
weight of a skydiver. The first attempt is to run the prototype like there are no users within the
chamber. Progressively, the test chamber will be tested by increasing the amount of figures
which will prove the functionality of the system when holding multiple users.
The second option is to demonstrate the total pressure and air flow velocity of the
major components of the duct. A pitot tube will be used to record the static and dynamic
pressure in order to calculate the total pressure of the system.

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Table 18. Experimental Pressure Difference in Pascal.

Pressure (Pascal)
I
1 in 2 in 3in 4in 5 in 6 in 7 in 8 in 9 in 10 in 11 in 12 in
(Amp)
49.80 64.74 72.21 74.70 82.17 84.66 87.15 74.70 69.72 57.27 34.86 34.86
7 47.31 62.25 84.66 87.15 92.13 102.09 77.19 82.17 67.23 54.78 57.27 44.82
54.78 59.76 74.70 77.19 84.66 79.68 82.17 77.19 67.23 57.27 34.86 34.86
97.11 117.03 139.45 156.88 161.86 149.41 151.90 161.86 114.54 107.07 72.21 82.17
8 92.13 112.05 129.49 122.02 119.53 139.45 138.70 122.02 119.53 109.56 77.19 72.21
87.15 104.58 127.00 119.53 129.49 141.94 134.47 119.53 122.02 94.62 84.66 49.80
109.56 144.43 161.86 166.84 174.31 171.82 154.39 166.84 149.41 139.45 92.13 92.13
9 114.54 129.49 146.92 149.41 159.37 161.86 154.39 149.41 139.45 127.00 97.11 69.72
112.05 146.92 151.90 159.37 156.88 156.88 156.88 146.92 144.43 124.51 99.60 74.70
127.00 146.92 169.33 194.23 209.17 221.62 206.68 194.23 146.92 114.54 89.64 79.68
10 138.70 156.88 161.86 171.82 174.31 179.29 174.31 171.82 136.96 146.92 97.11 77.19
131.98 159.37 164.35 176.80 181.78 184.27 169.33 176.80 161.86 129.49 82.17 79.68
159.37 196.72 209.17 221.62 234.07 239.05 229.09 231.58 214.15 184.27 164.35 124.50
11 154.39 191.74 211.66 224.11 231.58 244.04 234.07 221.62 211.66 186.76 159.37 131.98
169.33 186.76 211.66 229.09 234.07 241.54 236.56 219.13 216.64 193.24 161.86 129.49

Table 19. Experimental Standard Deviation.

S X,P (Pascal)
I (Amp)
1 in 2 in 3in 4in 5 in 6 in 7 in 8 in 9 in 10 in 11 in 12 in
7 3.80 2.49 6.59 6.59 5.18 11.77 4.98 3.80 1.44 1.44 12.94 5.75
8 4.98 6.27 6.59 20.88 22.13 5.18 9.09 23.75 3.80 8.00 6.27 16.58
9 2.49 9.43 7.61 8.75 9.43 7.61 1.44 10.85 4.98 8.00 3.80 11.77
10 5.87 6.59 3.80 11.77 18.36 23.14 20.28 11.77 12.53 16.20 7.47 1.44
11 7.61 4.98 1.44 3.80 1.44 2.49 3.80 6.59 2.49 4.63 2.49 3.80

All data is exposed in table 13. As it was expected the numbers show that the air speed
increases as the Pitot tube is moved to the center of the duct, and decreases as it gets close to the walls
of the tunnel. Also, as the current is raised the revolutions of the fan also increase and as a
consequence the general air speed will increase too.

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Table 20. Air Speed and Reynolds Number.

Air Speed (m/s)


Current (Amp)
7 8 9 10 11
Location (in) V (m/s) V(m/s) V (m/s) V(m/s) V (m/s) V(m/s) V (m/s) V(m/s) V (m/s) V(m/s)
1 6.50 0.56 8.84 0.79 9.66 0.45 10.51 0.70 11.58 3.65
2 7.20 0.45 9.63 0.72 10.81 0.88 11.34 0.74 12.64 3.98
3 8.02 0.74 10.49 0.74 11.31 0.79 11.73 0.56 13.26 4.17
4 8.15 0.74 10.52 1.31 11.49 0.85 12.28 0.99 13.69 4.31
5 8.48 0.65 10.68 1.35 11.67 0.88 12.53 1.23 13.94 4.39
6 8.60 0.99 10.94 0.65 11.67 0.79 12.75 1.38 14.19 4.46
7 8.28 0.64 10.87 0.87 11.37 0.34 12.36 1.29 13.94 4.39
8 8.06 0.56 10.59 1.40 11.34 0.95 12.28 0.99 13.67 4.30
9 7.53 0.34 9.95 0.56 10.97 0.64 11.13 1.02 13.36 4.20
10 6.86 0.34 9.30 0.81 10.42 0.81 10.42 1.16 12.52 3.94
11 5.94 1.03 8.06 0.72 8.96 0.56 8.64 0.79 11.61 3.66
12 5.64 0.69 7.53 1.17 8.11 0.99 8.11 0.34 10.35 3.26
Av. Velocity 7.44 9.78 10.65 11.17 12.90
Reynolds 1.094E+05 1.438E+05 1.566E+05 1.643E+05 1.896E+05

Table 21. Air Speed Dimensionless Coefficients.

Current (Amp)
7 8 9 10 11
r* V (m/s) V (m/s) V (m/s) V (m/s) V (m/s)
-6 0.76 0.81 0.83 0.82 0.82
-5 0.84 0.88 0.93 0.89 0.89
-4 0.93 0.96 0.97 0.92 0.93
-3 0.95 0.96 0.98 0.96 0.97
-2 0.99 0.98 1.00 0.98 0.98
-1 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
1 0.96 0.99 0.97 0.97 0.98
2 0.94 0.97 0.97 0.96 0.96
3 0.88 0.91 0.94 0.87 0.94
4 0.80 0.85 0.89 0.82 0.88
5 0.69 0.74 0.77 0.68 0.82
6 0.66 0.69 0.69 0.64 0.73

As it can be seen in Fig 60. The velocity profile for each velocity was plotted in order to have a
better understanding of the behavior for each velocity selected.

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Velocity Vs Radius
1.02
Average Velocity (m/s)

0.92

Current 7 (Amp)
0.82
Current 8 (Amp)
Current 9 (Amp)
Current 10 (Amp)
0.72
Current 11 (Amp)

0.62
-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8

Radius (in)

Figure 60. Velocity Vs Radius Profile.

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Conclusion

There is a tendency in the modern world that involves the human to take as much risks
as possible. In most cases, extreme sports allow people to practice them with a high percentage
of safety guaranteed. In general, people believe that practicing extreme sports makes them feel
more alive. At the same time, some people do not want to practice extreme sports all the time,
especially sports like skydiving, which involves a free-fall jump from an aircraft flying at an
altitude of 10000 ft. or higher, just to experience a 30 second free-fall feeling. The vertical wind
tunnel is a proposal that involves a solution for those who want to experience a similar free-fall
feeling without the risks.

A vertical wind tunnel needs to recreate an airflow over 125 mph, which is the minimum
speed reached in a common free-fall session from an aircraft. This VWT design will have a 16 ft.
diameter test chamber and will allow individual or group jumps of up to 8 people at the same
time. This design will not only cover the expected design applications, but will also generate an
economic profit for both the VWT designer and business owner.

With the proper operational procedures and a constant maintenance, the VWT will be
able to function almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, generating income continuously for the
business.

After the SolidWorks tests were performed on this vertical wind tunnel, it was
established that the start point goals were almost reached duo to the diameter test chamber of
17.04 ft. was calculated out a 17 ft. diameter test chamber expected; and the airflow velocity at
the test chamber was 158.97 MPH out of 160 MPH airflow velocity expected as a initial goal. As
a conclusion with this data calculated in SolidWorks, the system has a lot of probabilities of
work perfectly in all conditions recreating the minimum conditions established.

Equipment and materials used on the SolidWorks software tests show the advantages
and disadvantages of the system when different materials were used during the calculations.
Final price of the system was calculated on base of the tests performed. There is important to
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consider that the tests were executed only on the aerodynamic section of this vertical wind
tunnel.

Prototype was calculated on base of Mach number and Reynoldss number calculations.
Due to the original design Mach number and Reynoldss number calculations, prototype size
and scale was based only on the airflow velocity of the system. Calculations made out of the
airflow velocity give the prototype the chance to be developed on any size. A scale of 1:17 was
considered and airflow was calculated in order to reach the demanded standards. Airflow was
calculated to be up to 11,000 CFM. Due to the axial fans and industrial fans high prices,
calculations were based on the maximum airflow reached with the considered fan. The
maximum airflow reached on the fan attached to the prototype reaches up to 2,010 CFM.
Calculations were established to be one fourth of the original calculations. Airflow velocity was
reduced and the foam figures used as skydivers were reduced to scope the system applications.

The system and the prototype complete all the project expectations. The airflow
velocity reached on the prototype allow the foam figures to float on the test chamber and go
up to the diffuser without been taken out of the system. These prove was the main goal of the
prototype.

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http://men-skydiving.blogspot.com. July 19, 2008.
11. Chris Landon. A Brief History of Wind Tunnels, and the Vertical Wind Tunnel
Corporation L-1 Design. [Online Article].http://www.verticalwind.com 2004.
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group.de. [Retrieved 13 March 2011].

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13. Metni, N. Allan and others. Recirculating Vertical Wind Tunnel Skydiving Simulator.
U.S. Patent-7156744.January 2, 2007.
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Appendix

Appendix A: Moody Diagram

Figure 61. Moody Diagram

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Appendix B: Absolute Roughness table from Fluid mechanics by Binder, R.C.
(1973)
Table 22 - Absolute Roughness Table.

VWT 92