June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.466.1 - 12.466.9
Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Low-Speed Wind Tunnel Laboratory Abstract
Engineering Technology programs focus on delivering a hands-on engineering education. The students get introduced to the theoretical development of engineering concepts first, then they apply the concepts to solve practical problems and test the concepts in carefully designed experiments carried out in appropriate facilities. One of the key areas of instruction associated with a mechanical engineering technology program is thermofluids where thermodynamic and fluid dynamic concepts are addressed. The engineering areas that these concepts belong to are empirically based disciplines requiring a strong experimental component for the development of the concepts. Wind tunnels have always played a major role in the advancements made in these disciplines1. Thus a wind tunnel facility is an opportune tool for instruction in this key area of engineering. In the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MMET) department at Arizona State University at the Polytechnic campus (ASU Polytechnic), a course entitled Applied Aerodynamics and Wind Tunnel Testing (AET420) is dedicated to addressing this area. The student is introduced to the basic concepts of how wind tunnels operate, the tunnel design process, and the associated measurement systems2,3. Then the student designs and carries out a set of experiments that reinforce these concepts.
A key requirement for this process to be successful is the availability of a wind tunnel facility that is capable of addressing the engineering tasks developed in the classroom. Making use of their applied engineering background, the MMET students designed, analyzed and built an instructional scale wind tunnel. The funding support for the tunnel fabrication was obtained from external sources with the provision that the tunnel would be used to address a specific problem faced by the industrial entity providing the funds. For example, the completed tunnel, with a maximum speed of 50 mph, was first used for testing an aerodynamic problem faced by the trash collection industry (material flying off the hoppers of collection trucks as they went from street to street) in an effort to provide solutions for improving the design of the vehicles. This, in turn, helped the students gain experience in solving problems of interest to industry.
The wind tunnel design and fabrication process required the coupling of key disciplines in engineering technology, including the aeronautical, mechanical and manufacturing engineering technologies which form the focus areas of MMET dept. The completed tunnel is now part of the MMET department’s resources and plays a critical role in the curriculum.
Engineering Technology programs focus on delivering a hands-on based engineering education. The students apply the theoretically developed engineering concepts to solve practical problems. In this process they have the opportunity to test the concepts in carefully designed experiments carried out in appropriate facilities. While the best option may be to train the students on the equipment and facilities they will be using when they join the industry workforce, establishing such facilities at the teaching institution is often prohibitively expensive and too narrow in focus. The best solution is to ensure that the experimental facilities are adequate enough to test and verify basic concepts so that the learning experience for the student leads to a good foundation
Rajadas, J., & Rogers, B. (2007, June), Design, Fabrication And Testing Of A Low Speed Wind Tunnel Laboratory Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2150
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