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Close up of a wind turbine

Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel

Leading-edge facility studying atmospheric flows

Our Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel is designed to conduct experiments for the studies of dispersion in urban flows, wind loads on buildings, wind energy, fluid-structure interaction and atmospheric turbulence.

Featuring an impressive boundary layer section measuring 20m long by 2.5m wide and 2m high, the wind tunnel is one of a small number of facilities in Australia capable of measuring high Reynolds number flows.

The tunnel can generate flow velocities up to 100kmph and fit relatively large-scale models over its 2.5m diameter turn table. The blockage tolerant section also allows detailed assessment of complex topographic areas (for example, analysis of wind turbine placement). 

The tunnel is equipped with variable levels of fetch roughness so site-specific turbulence characteristics can be simulated.

Instrumentation

A range of instruments are used for measuring and understanding the behaviour of air flows in wind tunnel experiments. These include:

  • particle image velocimetry
  • high-frequency pressure scanning system
    Up to 512 pressure taps can be simultaneously scanned for measuring façade cladding pressures or for integrating pressures over the face of a structure.
  • high-frequency base balance
    This is used for determining overall structural loads applied to a building's foundations or supports. Knowledge of the dynamic properties of a building allows a prediction of structural responses.
  • constant temperature anemometry (hot-wires)
    This is used to measure the wind velocity at different locations in the wind tunnel. The miniature size and multi-directionality of hot-wires makes them ideal for pedestrian/environmental comfort testing.
  • cobra probes
    Used for quick and accurate velocity profile measurements, the robust and easy use of this instrument makes it invaluable to our thunderstorm downburst research.
  • flow visualisation.

As well as being used for our research work, the tunnel is available for consulting and teaching activities.