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01-03-2011

Clarkson University’s New Low Speed Wind Tunnel Assists Air Quality And Aerosol Research

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/windtunnel.jpg]

A new low speed wind tunnel recently installed at Clarkson University’s Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES) is assisting environmental and aeronautical engineering research efforts by simulating low wind atmospheric conditions for the development of new tools in modeling, measurement and air flow management.

The tunnel features an open-circuit system design capable of producing wind speeds between two and 30 miles per hour. The 60-foot long tunnel is made of fiberglass reinforced plastic with a balsa wood core for reduced vibration and acoustic attenuation. Air is moved through the tunnel by a large axial fan and impurities are removed from the air through 62 HEPA filters. windtunnel

According to Professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Suresh Dhaniyala, environmental applications for the new wind tunnel include air sampling and analysis, exposure assessment, receptor modeling, atmospheric deposition, and computational fluid dynamics to air pollution problems.

“For example,” said Dhaniyala, “the aerosol wind tunnel will be used for diesel emission research. Emissions from diesel engines will be injected into the wind tunnel to simulate atmospheric dilution and the resultant particle transformations will be studied over varying spatial and temporal scales. The effect of flow and engine operating parameters on emission characteristics will also be studied.”

The tunnel will be used by researchers for testing ground-based and aircraft-based samplers. For ground samplers aerosol wind tunnel measurements will be used to satisfy regulatory agency requirements, while measurements with aircraft aerosol inlets will be used to validate computational fluid dynamics modeling results.

The new aerosol tunnel will be complemented by a high-speed tunnel currently being designed by the CARES faculty. This tunnel will enable speeds in excess of 150 mph providing faculty with the opportunity to simulate full scale environments with subscale models.

Established three years ago, CARES is a founding member of the New York Environmental Quality Systems Center, a network of 12 research institutions, which received a $15 million grant from New York's Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) to study air quality. The CARES mission is to develop better ways to address the health and ecological effects of air pollution.

PHOTO CAPTION: A 60-foot-long low speed wind tunnel, capable of producing wind speeds between two and 30 miles per hour, was recently installed at Clarkson University’s Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES). The new wind tunnel is facilitating environmental and aeronautical engineering research in exposure assessment, receptor modeling, atmospheric deposition, and computational fluid dynamics to air pollution problems by simulating low wind atmospheric conditions.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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