Inflatable walls for wind tunnels

Abstract : Wind tunnels are usually designed for a prerequisite purpose. Wind tunnels for aeronautical studies aim at reproducing very low turbulence flow at high speed, what they attain through a settling chamber and funnelling effect with a contraction ratio of the section by 8 to more, BLWT are designed for making a boundary layer grow, what means a long flat floor upstream the model and industrial wind tunnel are designed with a continuous flat floor allowing forklifts and other handling vehicles to travel inside. It is therefore difficult to change the initial destination of a wind tunnel, pulling down walls and rebuilding is costly. In order to overcome this issue, an innovative device has been developed for the Jules Verne large climatic wind tunnel, with the aim to modulate its section, opening it to new markets. This device allows a fast and cheap adaptation of the size and shape of the wind tunnel section. Experience of the wind tunnel team with inflatable structures, initially related to modelling of mechanical behaviour of standalone structures under wind loads , was used for taking the challenge of the design, dimensioning and validation of new devices, to be used for changing the shape of the existing wind tunnel.
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Olivier Flamand, Jean-Christophe Thomas. Inflatable walls for wind tunnels. 7th European-African Conference on Wind Engineering (EACWE 2017), Jul 2017, Liège, Belgium. ⟨hal-02309690⟩

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