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Combined wind, heat and ice: Audi is now able to perform its testing programme under realistic conditions in its new climatic wind tunnel – in icy cold or blazing heat and with wind speeds of up to 300 km/h. The goal: to improve the comfort and safety of its vehicles even further.
Audi added the final element to its Wind Tunnel Centre at the beginning of 2008: the new climatic wind tunnel can produce temperatures from -25 to +55 °C. Along with heat and cold, sun simulations with up to 1,000 watts per square metre are also possible, as well as rain simulations up to 2,500 litres per hour. The relative atmospheric humidity can be raised to 40 g/kg. Testing in the new climatic wind tunnel covers three areas:
Closed air circuit
As with Audi’s two other wind tunnels, the climatic wind tunnel is also constructed based on the “Göttinger” principle, in other words, it has a closed air circuit. To save space, like the thermal tunnel, it is built vertically. The fan has an output of 2.4 megawatts, producing speeds up to 300 km/h. The temperature-controlled air travels through two corners to the antechamber. After passing through a screen, the air is compressed by 6:1 through the nozzle and into the open test section. From there, the air is captured in an adjustable funnel and guided back to the fan past two more corners.
The test section
Before the test item enters the 10 metre long test section, it is placed in a room where it is conditioned. Regardless of the climatic conditions in the wind tunnel, the vehicles are pre-conditioned in the so-called “soak room” in a temperature range of –40 to +50 °C. The floor of the test section is watertight. Rain water is collected in channels and drained away. A twin-axle drive, each axle producing 250 kW (340 bhp), is installed for cars with permanent four-wheel drive.
Tests for the entire model range
The six-square-meter air jets and the high wind speeds make the Audi climatic wind tunnel ideally suited for a wide range of uses. And there are no restrictions even for large SUVs, sports cars and quattro models. With its flexibly adjustable four-wheel roller dynamometer, the new climatic wind tunnel is fully equipped for the development of the latest generation of vehicles.