Animal Flight and Aeromechanics Wind Tunnel

We are thrilled by the arrival of our new wind tunnel – the Animal Flight and Aeromechanics Wind Tunnel (AFAM) a $1.4 million facility funded by NSF and Brown University and recently installed into the fluid mechanics testing laboratory.  

The tunnel has a 1.2 x 1.2 x 4 meter test section and can operate at speeds from 1 – 50 meters/second (approx 2.5 – 120 mph). The test section is enclosed by the “White House” which is a BioSafety Level 2 enclosure with HEPA-filtered air exhaust, which allows us to test wild-caught birds and bats without fear of transmission of any infectious agents.  

Initial indications are that the flow quality is excellent, with turbulence fluctuations well below 0.1% of the free stream velocity – more details will be forthcoming as we complete detailed turbulence and flow-uniformity experiments.

The wind tunnel has a complete suite of measurement systems including 6-axis force transducers, a computer-controlled Pitch-Yaw model positioning system, a cross-stream probe traversing system. non-invasive Particle Image Velocimetry lasers, high speed cameras, hot wire anemometers, etc, etc.  

The wind tunnel is suitable for both aerodynamic and animal fight experiments and can be used by researchers based at Brown university, other research institutions, public and private companies. It operates as a cost-center at Brown University and can be used on a weekly basis for very modest usage fees.  For more information, please contact the facility director, Prof Kenny Breuer

More photos and flow quality data will be posted soon.  For now, here is a video of the tunnel being installed during Jan & Feb 2019: