Laboratory Wind Testing

Introduction: Wind tunnel testing is a fundamental concept in wind engineering, involving subjecting test models to controlled airflow at varying wind direction angles. However, while wind tunnels, such as Boundary Layer Laboratories (BLLs), provide valuable insights, they have inherent limitations in accurately simulating turbulence and addressing scale issues. These limitations prompt the need for a more comprehensive approach to wind testing. This page aims to highlight the significance of BLL testing while showcasing the role of the Large-Scale Open Jet (LSOJ) testing facility at LSU in bridging the gap between wind tunnel experiments and realistic full-scale outdoor testing.

Boundary Layer Laboratories (BLLs): To simulate the lower portion of the atmospheric boundary layer extending from the Earth's surface, specialized wind tunnels known as BLLs are utilized. BLLs can be categorized as open-loop or closed-loop systems, with the latter being more energy-efficient due to recirculation of airflow. Specially designed vanes in closed-loop BLLs redirect airflow, minimizing turbulence and power loss, leading to cost-effective operations. BLLs play a crucial role in modeling straight-line winds and replicating atmospheric boundary layer profiles through passive or active management strategies. They enable wind impact studies on various structures, including buildings, bridges, towers, energy infrastructure, solar panels, wind turbines, power transmission lines and towers, wind comfort, ventilation systems, wind energy, air pollution dispersion, internal pressure studies, crosswind effects on vehicles, wind effects on sailing yachts, cable aerodynamics, and more.
Limitations of Wind Tunnel Testing: While wind tunnel testing provides controlled airflow for precise model testing, it faces limitations in accurately simulating turbulence and addressing scale issues found in real-world atmospheric conditions. Replicating complex turbulence patterns poses a challenge, and scaling down large structures for wind tunnel experiments can introduce uncertainties and compromise result fidelity.

The Role of Large-Scale Open Jet (LSOJ) Testing Facility: To overcome the limitations of wind tunnel testing, the LSOJ testing facility at LSU offers a comprehensive solution. The LSOJ facility excels in bridging the gap between laboratory-scale wind tunnel experiments and full-scale outdoor testing. By utilizing a large open jet, the LSOJ facility enables testing of realistic full-scale structures while capturing intricate turbulence details, thus providing more accurate results. In the following section, we will delve into the capabilities and advantages of the LSU LSOJ facility, showcasing its pivotal role in advancing research and development in the field of wind engineering.

The combination of BLL testing and the LSOJ facility at LSU offers a powerful approach to wind engineering research. While BLLs play a crucial role in modeling and studying various structures, the LSOJ facility provides a more realistic representation of turbulence and facilitates testing at full-scale. By leveraging these testing methods, researchers can optimize cost efficiencies, enhance safety, and enable maximum design freedom in constructing projects situated in challenging terrains or near other structures. The LSU LSOJ facility stands as a testament to advancements in wind engineering, driving research and development in the field to new heights.

Schematic of an open-loop wind tunnel: a fan is usually located at the exit of the test section, not to generate undesired turbulence in the flowSchematic of an open-loop wind laboratory: a fan is usually located at the exit of the test section, not to generate undesired turbulence in the flow

Schematic of a closed-loop wind tunnel: closed loop wind tunnels usually have at least two sections

Schematic of a closed-loop BLL: closed-loop laboratories usually have at least two sections 

Selected Publications