Nozzle Design for a Small, Low-Speed, Closed-Return Wind Tunnel
Wind tunnels are used to characterize objects aerodynamically (e.g., measure lift and drag as a function of air velocity). They are critical in the design process of many products, including cars and planes. At Houghton College, a wind tunnel is currently being designed and built. One of the most difficult components of a wind tunnel to design is the nozzle, which contracts the air to produce a high-speed flow immediately upstream of the test object. This is difficult because the nozzle must be designed to produce a uniform flow at the exit to get an accurate representation of how air flows over the object. Furthermore, to improve flow uniformity and to increase efficiency, boundary layer separation is to be avoided inside of the nozzle. For the present wind tunnel, several commonly used nozzle designs were tested in order to determine which best fulfills the requirements above. These nozzle designs were tested using viscous, turbulent air flow simulations in ANSYS Fluent. Results and conclusions will be presented and future work highlighted.
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