Benefit of Wind Tunnels with Large Test Sections for Wind Engineering Applications

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Abstract

Atmospheric Boundary layer wind tunnels (ABLWT) dedicated to building safety and comfort have been operated by CSTB in Nantes since 1971. Because ABLWT only deal with reduced scale models of real structures, the necessity of a larger wind tunnel, the Jules Verne Climatic wind tunnel (CWT), able to reproduce extreme wind loads on real scale structures arose in the years 80. Hence, it became a major European facility operating for improvement of the safety, quality and environmental impact of buildings and civil engineering works as well as products from industrial fields (transportation, energy…) with respect to strong winds and other climatic hazards. Both wind tunnel types, the ABLWT and the CWT are complementary and used for studying the effect of wind on the same structures at two different scales, when the effect of wind scaling is important. During the 2018 year, several modifications were made to the CWT facility. The atmospheric test section of the existing facility was elongated preserving the initial advantages, very large test section (approximately 120 m2) with wind velocity performance compatible with many applications (up to 90 km/h). This new test section makes it possible to simulate turbulent wind and driving rain testing. The sand winds capabilities have been maintained in the new design, despite the closed loop configuration, by fitting a filtering. The modifications of the wind tunnel geometry now offer a long test section upstream the turning vanes where a whole set of new tests can be carried out, as windmill field, natural ventilation of urban environments, slender structures (large bridges, pylons, cable transport systems,)

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