The Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment (WindEEE) Dome is the world’s first hexagonal wind tunnel. Its large scale structure (25 meters diameter for the inner dome and 40 meters diameter for the outer return dome) will allow for wind simulations over extended areas and complex terrain. In a nutshell WindEEE will, for the first time, allow for the manipulation of inflow and boundary conditions to reproduce, at large scales and under controlled conditions, the dynamics of real wind systems.
Mounted on the peripheral walls and at the top of the dome, an array of specialized fans will be activated using a sophisticated control strategy to provide time-varying and spatially-varying flow fields in the test section.
By manipulating the outflow and direction of theses fans the facility will be capable of producing time-dependent, straight, sheared or swirl winds of variable directionality. Therefore a large variety of wind fields such as boundary layers, portions of hurricanes, tornados, downbursts, low level currents or gust fronts will be physically simulated.
An active topographic capability will generate a wide diversity of surface topographies at unprecedented scales allowing wind simulations over areas of the order of 10 km2 . The same system will be used to locally seed for the Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) system that will measure the wind field over extended areas. A traverse mechanism will allow for a LASER head to traverse the flow in a multitude of vertical and horizontal sections in order to produce PIV wind field measurements with a full scale equivalent resolution of 10 meters.
It is expected that for the first time laboratory tornado-like flows as large as 6 meter in diameter will simulate the equivalent of F3 Fujita Scale intensity winds. Large scale models of wind farms or portions of transmission lines will be tested under a wide range of wind conditions. The interference between wind turbines (wake and array effects) will be investigated and a full scale wind turbine blade can be traversed through the 25 m diameter dome and tested under realistic wind shear and wind turbulence conditions. The dispersion of pollutants, the effects of winds on forests and plant canopies will also be addressed.