Research Papers: Techniques and Procedures

Design Elements of a Novel Atmospheric Flow Simulator

[+] Author and Article Information
Sandip D. Kulkarni, Mark W. Deaver, Mark A. Minor

 Department of Mechanical Engineering, 50 S Central Campus Dr., Room 2110, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Eric R. Pardyjak1

 Department of Mechanical Engineering, 50 S Central Campus Dr., Room 2110, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112Pardyjak@eng.utah.edu

John M. Hollerbach

 School of Computing, 50 S Central Campus Dr., University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112


Corresponding author.

J. Fluids Eng 133(12), 121402 (Dec 23, 2011) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005345 History: Received September 05, 2010; Revised October 19, 2011; Published December 23, 2011; Online December 23, 2011

We present the methods, design and development of a unique atmospheric wind flow simulator that ultimately aids in adding atmospheric wind display to a virtual environment (VE). Iterative design, in synergy with CFD simulations and physical experiments, has been used to design a quasi-two dimensional closed-circuit wind tunnel model for a VE. Passive control and active flow control have proven to be essential in producing desired flow characteristics for the system. Design and characterization of the vent flow system considers constraints such as original geometry and non-obtrusiveness to the user environment. Based on the flow characteristics of the fabricated system, a model of the vent regulation system is developed and tested. A system with controllable inlet velocity boundary conditions is thus developed. Experimental results show that the flow dynamics in the facility are within design constraints. The flow characterization provides important insights for development of a full-scale virtual environment that has diverse applications.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 2

Plan view of the scaled TPAWT: (a) schematic of the final test bed facility with the main features labeled (not to scale), (b) inlet vent configuration with path lines of wind flowing along the screen, merging at the center screen and flowing towards the user

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Figure 3

Sensors and the user position showing tufts providing a qualitative indication of wind flow, vorticity-meter showing quantitative indication of circulation, and pitot vane measuring wind speed and wind angle at the user position

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Figure 4

Time series of response characteristics of pitot vane when placed in an air stream of varying velocities with an initial wind angle with respect to the free-stream in the wind tunnel of 90° or 45°: (a) 4 m/s and 45°, (b) 4 m/s and 90°, (c) 6 m/s and 45°, (d) 6 m/s and 90°, (e) 8 m/s and 45°, (f) 8 m/s and 90°, (g) 10 m/s and 45°, (h) 10 m/s and 90°, (i) 12 m/s and 45° and (j) 12 m/s and 90°

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Figure 5

Vent and valve control schematic showing the inputs and outputs along with controller blocks

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Figure 7

Facility schematic showing locations of static pressure taps. The sub atmospheric zone is within the third regime between ∼ 600 cm and 1500 cm.

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Figure 8

Plot of non-dimensional pressures in facility displaying three dominant pressure regimes

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Figure 9

Non-dimensional velocity distributions at the right and left vent exit planes under different valve configurations: (a) left valve at 20°, (b) right valve at 20°, (c) left valve at 35°, (d) right valve at 35°, (e) left valve at 50°, (f) right valve at 50°, (g) left valve at 80°, (h) right valve at 80°

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Figure 10

CFD simulation depicting flow interactions when vent velocity ratio is far from unity

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Figure 11

A time series visualization of two seconds of flow captured with 16 sequential photographs with an 8 Hz sampling rate. The time sequence begins at the upper left image and ends at the lower right image.

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Figure 12

Mapping between: (a) valve angle and non-dimensional vent inlet velocity with tangent curve fit and (b) valve angle and vent inlet velocity for a variety of configurations with a linear approximation valid between valve angles of 20 degreesand 50 degrees

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Figure 13

Controlled left vent velocity and valve angle plot shows that the actual vent velocity reaches the desired vent velocity with a rise time of less than 0.5 s

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Figure 1

Photograph of the University of Utah Treadport Virtual Environment

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Figure 6

Vent control block diagram. The system input is a desired velocity, Vdes, and the output is the actual inlet velocity, Vact. The components represented here are the velocity controller, GCV, the inverse mapping from wind speed to wind angle representing the feedforward term, FF, the motor controller, GCM, the motor model, GM, the approximate mapping between the valve angle and velocity at vent, GMapping, the system delay, Gdelay, and the pitot-static probe pressure transducer sensor, H. The terms GMotor and GSystem include the components in each dotted box and each represent a separate subsystem.



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