Research Activities in the Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics Department

Wind Engineering test section of the L1 wind tunne

The Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics department studies and teaches fluid dynamic aspects of environmental and industrial processes. Research themes cover a wide range of domains in response to the demands of the industry. Multiphase flows, aeroacoustics, wind engineering and cryogenic flows are some of the disciplines covered by this multidisciplinary department.

The department has 40 years of expertise in experimental fluid dynamics at full-scale and model-scale, including the design, construction and testing of dedicated experimental facilities, and the development of traditional and advanced, laser-based and acoustic measurement techniques.

Since 20 years, numerical modeling is performed using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), and includes the development of turbulence models. Current research activities are nano-particle flows, pollutant dispersion, wind energy, pedestrian wind comfort, wind loading on structures, acoustics of turbines, heat and mass transfer of industrial processes, and bubble and spray dynamics .

 microclimate model for wind comfortCapabilities:

Wind tunnel testing
The VKI is equipped with the largest low-speed wind tunnel in Belgium, the so-called L1. It consists of a 3x2 m2 test section with a 20 m long rough floor to develop atmospheric boundary layers up to 50 m/s. The wind tunnel is instrumented with a six component balance for aerodynamic testing. Smaller wind tunnels are available for detailed analysis, using laser-based measurement techniques like LDV (Laser Doppler Velocimetry) or PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry).

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
CFD enables the numerical simulation of the fluid flow around the structure under investigation. A numerical model provides a comprehensive tool for the engineer with access to a wide variety of variables such as wind velocity, wind direction, turbulence intensity, temperature, pollutant concentration, etc.Different clusters are available for researchers and students: from a ClusterVision 1792 AMD Opteron cores with 7TB ram high performance cluster recently installed, passing trough an older SGI 512 Intel cores with 1TB ram, ending up with a low performance cluster of around 200 cores used by the students for learning purposes.

Numerical modeling
Specific numerical models are developed for data processing or for the simulation of physical processes. Engineering equations found through the VKI library, or developed and validated in-house using experimental facilities, are implemented in engineering tools.

Short consultation meetings are available to the industry on demand. The expertise of the VKI engineers can help you with a quick solution of your industrial problems.


J.-M. Buchlin - Head of the Department

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