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ACE moving ground plane
ACE (the Automotive Centre of Excellence at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology) is enhancing its research facility by adding a 2.3m-wide by 7m-long moving ground plane (MGP) to its full-scale climatic wind tunnel (CWT). This will increase simulation accuracy by producing physical characteristics closer to those seen in real-world conditions.
The moving ground plane will give OEM and motorsport clients a controlled and repeatable testing environment that closes the correlation gap between simulation and reality. This will enable researchers to pursue innovations and companies to positively influence the performance of their products.
The MGP project also comes with many supporting systems and enhancements that have positively affected all aspects of the wind tunnel. This includes air flow quality (honeycomb, secondary collector, additional boundary layer control systems), acoustics (panels and resonator) and the addition of advanced aerodynamic measurement devices (through-belt force measurement, wheel hub vehicle restraints for drag/side force measurement, dynamic vehicle attitude control system, etc).
MGP has wind speeds of up to 130mph (210km/h or 58.3 m/s) and wind on yaw capability of +/- 30º. The nozzle measures 13m2 (4.5 x 2.889m). The through-belt force measurement capability is up to 7,000N (1573 lb-ft) per wheel, and the hub-mounted vehicle restraint with drag and side force measurement is used to create a full six degrees of freedom measurement system. The track width is 46.4-66.8in (1,178-1,696mm) and the wheel base measures 95.8-126.3in (2,433-3,208mm). A secondary collector has been added for enhanced axial static pressure gradient and reduced pulsation at high wind speeds. Up to 176 differential pressure sensor channels are available. A temperature- and humidity-controlled airstream maintains ambient testing conditions for increased sensor stability.
The aerodynamic flow quality in the CWT has recently been improved with the following integrations in addition to the moving ground plane and the secondary collector: honeycomb flow straightener, additional boundary layer control systems and added resonator. These enhancements have improved aspects such as flow angularity, velocity uniformity, boundary layer control, axial static pressure gradient and reduced pulsation.
Accurate ground plane simulation requires minimization of the boundary layer ahead of the belt. This is accomplished using Ontario Tech’s three boundary layer control systems with tangential blowing ahead of the belt. The primary boundary layer scoop removes the boundary layer developed within the wind tunnel contraction at the nozzle exit plane. The secondary perforated plates maintain the boundary layer control across the turntable surface. Finally, the tertiary sintered mesh system ensures the boundary layer is controlled ahead of the belt with a reinjection along the belt leading edge. These techniques are complementary and work together to improve the boundary layer/ground plane simulation.