Fläkt Woods and Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Graduate in Areodynamics
Fläkt Woods, a leading global supplier of energy efficient air climate and ventilation systems, has worked closely alongside the engineers at Mercedes AMG PETRONAS on a wind tunnel project for the new building for the Faculty of Engineering and Computing at Coventry University. Fläkt Woods designed and supplied some of the key aerodynamic components, including a bespoke, specially sized high efficiency Axial Flow Fan to meet the specific requirements of the project. This was supported by extensive Computational Flow Dynamics (CFD) models to ensure that demanding flow conditions and performance levels could be met.
The fan system had to be mechanically designed to produce the necessary volume flow and wind speeds required, so dimensional control and specification was important. As a result, Mercedes AMG PETRONAS turned to Fläkt Woods for the project, which was completed in July 2012. The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS engineers were already familiar with Fläkt Woods’ products and services, with one of its fan systems already being utilised in the wind tunnel at the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS headquarters in Brackley, Northamptonshire.
Mark Neal, Wind Tunnel Operations Manager, Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited, explained further: “The Faculty of Engineering and Computing at Coventry University had a 50 year old wind tunnel in its old premises but naturally wanted a more modern facility in its new building. Upon being successfully awarded the tender to build, detailed discussions were opened between Coventry University and Mercedes AMG PETRONAS. After working closely with Fläkt Woods, we constructed the wind tunnel, which will be used for academic purposes, including teaching, research and student projects; a 25% scale F1 car can even be tested inside it.”
He continued: “It was important that the fan delivered good air flow quality with minimum turbulence, swirl and radial variation of axial velocity. We chose Fläkt Woods because the main Mercedes wind tunnel, designed by Jacobs in the USA, has one of their fans in it, so we knew that we could rely on them for a good quality product with high levels of reliability. We were not disappointed, as the support we received from Colchester was excellent. ”
In addition to flow quality, it was important that no additional heat was put into the tunnel airflow; this meant that Fläkt Woods had to develop a special through flow ventilation system, which ventilated the motor housing through the integral vane system. The complete fan and drive system was tested at the company’s Colchester facilities and found to actually exceed the predicted performance levels.