Have you ever wondered how such a huge, heavy metal bird calmly takes off and lands gracefully on the tarmac after experiencing bad weather thousands of meters above the ground? All real aircraft are designed and built to withstand complex, harsh and extreme weather conditions. To make your journey easy and safe, a series of testing activities take place behind the scenes.
The same is true for all flying objects (e.g. drones, parachutes, etc.). Before launching on the market, they conduct a series of tests to understand and better understand the functionality of multiple components.
A key component of the test system is the wind tunnel, which exposes the aircraft to extreme weather conditions early on. To promote space research, BITS Pilani has decided to set up the country’s largest wind tunnel facility in Telangana. The project will be completed within a year and will be available to researchers to advance aerodynamic testing and research.
Wind tunnels are important facilities for aerodynamic testing of a variety of objects, including aircraft, drones, vehicles, and other aerodynamically sensitive structures.
Capable of recreating wind speeds of up to 220 kilometers per hour, the tunnel will help scientists test aerodynamic effects on a variety of topics, including full-scale drones/quadcopters, cars, parachutes and electric vehicle battery management systems.
“The capability of a wind tunnel depends on the size of the test section of the aircraft test and the maximum wind speed it can generate,” explains G Sundar, director, BITS Hyderabad campus and off-campus projects and industry. Engagement of BITS Pilani.
The wind tunnel facility will feature two distinct test sections – an extensive 5 mx 5 m area designed for comprehensive evaluation of quadcopter and automotive cooling systems, and a more compact 2 mx 2 m test section capable of Simulated wind speeds up to 220 km/h.
“Drones and drones have huge potential in various sectors including business, defense and entertainment. The wind tunnel will play a key role in establishing BITS Pilani as a hub for deep tech entrepreneurship,” he explained.
The facility is supported by entrepreneur and BITS Pilani alumnus Goutham Kurra. Kurra founded Glint, a leading global employee engagement company that was acquired by LinkedIn in 2018.
The upcoming facility will be able to regulate wind conditions in space and time through an active control system innovatively developed by BITS Pilani students and faculty. “This facility will support and enrich aerospace education and provide a platform for students, researchers and industry to explore and innovate, encouraging more academia and industry collaboration,” Sundar said.