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Water Tunnel Makes For Exacting Hydrodynamics For Product Testing

Date:
May 29, 2009
Source:
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Summary:
The fifth largest and newest water tunnel in the United States has just been completed. The tunnel has been under construction for more than a year, holds thousands of gallons of water and has taken more than 5,000 man hours to build to its current state.

Any electrical current (blue) moves water over the model of a race car inside the UNC Charlotte water tunnel. The device can be used with bike helmets, swimwear and other products.
Credit: UNC Charlotte

The Mechanical Engineering Motorsports Center in the William States Lee College of Engineering will unveil the fifth largest and newest water tunnel in the United States, Friday, May 29.

The tunnel has been under construction for more than a year, holds thousands of gallons of water and has taken more than 5,000 man hours to build to its current state. Assistant professor, Peter Tkacik, his Ph.D. student, Sam Hellman, research lab manager, Luke Woroniecki and Clemson University student Patrick Tkacik are credited with most of the construction.

Weighing 57,000 pounds with approximately three-and-a-half miles of welded bead in the tunnel, the performance of UNC Charlotte’s water tunnel surpassed tunnels at the University of Minnesota and NASA Dryden. Currently, the water tunnel has a flow rate of 1,000 liters per second and trials have only reached 60 percent of rated speed.

Since the days of Leonardo da Vinci, water tunnels have been in use for fluid flow research, specifically to observe how moving water flows around submerged objects. The information applies to air and other fluids. Water tunnels also increase the understanding of data from wind tunnel research.

The tunnel features a 3 feet square by 10 feet long test section with thick glass surrounding the front, back and bottom to allow for laser measurements and easy viewing. The section is large enough to observe a person swimming.

Water tunnel research applications include the study of race car aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, aerospace experiments, submarine/surface vessel efficiency as well as sports applications including swimwear efficiency, baseball bat, golf club and cycling aerodynamics and environmental studies such as fish schooling and soil erosion.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "Water Tunnel Makes For Exacting Hydrodynamics For Product Testing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529185009.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte. (2009, May 29). Water Tunnel Makes For Exacting Hydrodynamics For Product Testing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529185009.htm
University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "Water Tunnel Makes For Exacting Hydrodynamics For Product Testing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529185009.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

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