Learning aerodynamics via Wind Tunnel

Team Texas Germany was given the chance to peruse and learn about the significance of aerodynamics in architecture. Doctor Albert Pernpeintner – director chair for Aerodynamics in TU München – willingly sacrificed some time to lead us through the TUM Garching wind tunnel facilities as well as intricately explaining the concepts employed to perform accurate aerodynamic analysis.

It was explained that wind tunnels were in place due to the significant difference in time consumption between simulations made in wind tunnels versus simulations made using supercomputers. Apparently, it would take five months for supercomputers to simulate one second of wind to the same degree of accuracy and precision that of the wind tunnel. There were three different sizes of wind tunnels; each with a specific purpose for different scales and industries. Various systems were in place to quantitatively measure the aerodynamic environment such as wind velocity and direction. These systems included sticks with strings attached to visualize the eddies formed during a simulation and laser systems that takes snapshots of the conditions.

Trivially enjoyable for us architecture students, were the adjustable Lego buildings used to simulate high rise structures through blunt-body testing. It was reminiscent of our childhood days.

Moving forward, Team Texas Germany will have a conscious effort to consider ventilation strategies in our design.

Text by Henry Wen, Photographs by Michael Rahmatoulin

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