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A wind tunnel is a specially designed and protected space into which air is drawn, or blown, by

mechanical means in order to achieve a specified speed and predetermined flow pattern at a given instant.

The flow so achieved can be observed from outside the wind tunnel through transparent windows that

enclose the test section and flow characteristics are measurable using specialized instruments. An object,

such as a model, or some full-scale engineering structure, typically a vehicle, or part of it, can be

immersed into the established flow, thereby disturbing it. The objectives of the immersion include being

able to simulate, visualize, observe, and/or measure how the flow around the immersed object affects

the immersed object.

There are many uses of wind tunnels. They vary from ordinary to special: these include uses for

Subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic studies of flight; for propulsion and icing research; for the testing of

models and full-scale structures, etc. Some common uses are presented below. Wind tunnels are used for

the following:

Wind tunnels are used to determine aerodynamic loads on the immersed structure. The loads could be

static forces and moments or dynamic forces and moments. Examples are forces and moments on airplane

wings, airfoils, and tall buildings.

In our Aerodynamics lab we use load cells to calculate the drag and lift acting on the aerofoil, cylinder,

and other models.

They can also be used on automobiles to measure drag forces with a view to reducing the power required

to move the vehicle on roads and highways.

To understand and visualize flow patterns near, and around, engineering structures. For example, how the

wind affects flow around tall structures such as sky scrapers, factory chimneys, bridges, fences, groups of

buildings, etc. How exhaust gases ejected by factories, laboratories, and hospitals get dispersed in their

environments.

To teach applied fluid mechanics, demonstrate how mathematical models compare to experimental

results, demonstrate flow patterns, and learn and practice the use of instruments in measuring flow

characteristics such as velocity, pressures, and torques.

Need of experiments

Experimental information towards solving aerodynamic problems could be obtained in a number of ways.

Flight tests, rocket flights, drop tests water tunnels, ballistic ranges and wind tunnels are some of the ways

by which aerodynamic data can be generated. With the help of well performed experiments even

information of fundamental nature could be derived.

Wind tunnel

Majority of experimental data needed in aerodynamics is generated using wind tunnels. Wind Tunnel is a

device for producing airflow relative to the body under test. Wind tunnels provide uniform flow

conditions in their test section.

Classification of Wind Tunnels

Wind tunnels may be classified based on any of the following:

(a) Speed, Mach no

They are classified as of low speed or high speed wind tunnels .In wind tunnel parlance, high speed wind

tunnels are those operating at speeds where compressibility effects are important. They are also classified

based on the Mach number of operation as subsonic, transonic, supersonic or hypersonic wind tunnels.

M<1 Subsonic

M=1, or near 1 Transonic

1<M<3 Supersonic

3<M<5 High supersonic

M>5 Hypersonic

M>> 5 High Hypersonic

Unit I

Layout of Open Circuit Wind Tunnels

All modern wind tunnels have four important components;

the Effuser

the Working or Test-section

the Diffuser

the Driving unit

The Effuser

This is a converging passage located upstream of the test-section. In this passage fluid gets

accelerated from rest (or from very low speed) at the upstream end of it to the required conditions at the

test-section.

In general, effuser contains honey-comb and wire gauze screens to reduce the turbulence and produce an

uniform air stream at the exit. Effuser is usually referred to as contraction cone.

Test-section

Model to be tested is placed here in the air-stream, leaving the downstream end of the effuser, and

the required measurements and observations are made. If the test-section is bounded by rigid walls, the

tunnel is called a closed throat tunnel. If it is bounded by air at different velocity (usually at rest), the

tunnel is called open jet tunnel. The test-section is also referred to as working-section.

Diffuser

The diffuser is used to re-convert the kinetic energy of the air-stream leaving the working-section

into pressure energy, as efficiently as possible. Essentially it is a passage in which the flow decelerates.

Driving Unit

If there were no losses, steady flow through the test-section could continue forever, once it is

established, without the supply of energy from an external agency. But in practice, losses do occur, and

kinetic energy

is being dissipated as heat in vorticity, eddying motion and turbulence. Moreover, as the expansion of the

diffuser cannot continue to infinity, there is rejection of some amount of kinetic energy at the diffuser

exit. This energy is also converted to heat in mixing with the surrounding air.

To compensate for these losses, energy from an external agency becomes essential for wind

tunnel operation. Since power must be supplied continuously to maintain the flow, the fourth essential

component namely, some form of driving unit is essential for wind tunnel operation. In low-speed tunnels

this usually takes the form of a fan or propeller.

The overall length of the wind tunnel may be shortened, and the rejection of kinetic energy at the

diffuser exit eliminated, by the construction of some form of return circuit. Even then the driving unit is

necessary to overcome the losses occurring due to vorticity, eddying motion and turbulence.

The skin friction at the walls and other surfaces will be large since the velocity at all points in the

circuit will be large (of the same order as the test-section velocity). Also, a construction ahead of the test–

section, is necessary if the turbulence at the test-section has to be low, and particularly if the velocity

distribution has to be uniform. To achieve this, usually guide vanes are placed in the corners.

Similarity Parameters

Geometric similarity

One of the most important requirements of models is that there should be geometric similarity between

the model and the prototype. By geometric similarity it is meant that ratios of corresponding dimensions

in the model and the prototype should be the same.

Dynamic similarity

Equally important as the geometric similarity is the requirement of dynamic similarity. In an actual flight,

when the body moves through a medium, forces and moments are generated because of the viscosity of

the medium and also due to its inertia, elasticity and gravity. The inertia, viscous, gravity and elastic

forces generated on the body in flight can be expressed in terms of fundamental units. The important force

ratios can be expressed as non dimensional numbers. For example,

Reynolds number (Re) = Inertia force/Viscous force

Mach number = Inertia force/Elastic force

Froude number = Inertia force/Gravity force

Euler's number = Inertia force / Pressure force

Weber Number = Inertia force / Surface tension force

The principle of dynamic similarity is that a scale model under same Reynolds number and Mach number

will have forces and moments on it that can be scaled directly. The flow patterns on the full scale body

and the model will be exactly similar.

It is not necessary and may not be possible that all the aforesaid non dimensional numbers be simulated

simultaneously in any experiment. Depending on the flow regime or the type of experiments, certain non-

dimensional parameters are important. For example, in a low speed flow regime, simulation of Reynolds

number in the experiments is important to depict the conditions of actual flight. In a high speed flow,

simulation of Mach number is significant. It may even be necessary and significant that more than one

non dimensional parameter are simulated.

High-speed tunnels are those with test-section speed more than 650 kmph.

The power to drive a low-speed wind tunnel varies as the cube of the test-section velocity.

Although this rule is not valid for the high speed regime, the implication of rapidly increasing power

requirement with increasing test-section speed is true for high-speed tunnels also.

Because of the power requirements, high-speed wind tunnels are often of the intermittent type in

which energy is stored in the form of pressure or vacuum or both and is allowed to drive the tunnel only a

few seconds out of each pumping hour.

Even though the flow in the Mach number range from 0.5 to 5.0 is usually termed high-speed

flow, the tunnels with test–section Mach number less than 0.9 are generally grouped and treated under

subsonic wind tunnels.

Wind tunnels with Mach numbers from 1.5 to 5.0 are classified as supersonic tunnels

And those with Mach number more than 5 are termed hypersonic tunnels.

The wind tunnels in the Mach number range from 0.9 to 1.5 are called transonic tunnels.

High-speed tunnels are generally grouped into intermittent and continuous operation tunnels,

based on the type of operation. The intermittent tunnels are further divided into blow down tunnels and

induction tunnels, based on type of the operational procedure.

The intermittent blowdown and induction tunnels are normally used for Mach numbers from 0.5

to about 5.0, and the intermittent pressure-vacuum tunnels are normally used for higher Mach numbers.

The continuous tunnel is used throughout the speed range. Both intermittent and continuous tunnels have

their own advantages and disadvantages.

Comparison between Intermittent and Continuous Tunnels

Hypersonic Wind Tunnel

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