Wind tunnel provides perfect testing conditions

Save favourite 17 Oct October 2016

The Sports Tech Research Centre's new wind tunnel was unveiled in 2015. Featuring one of the world's largest treadmills, enormous fans and an adjustable rain and temperature simulation system, new jackets, tents, wheelchairs and much more are now being tested there to see if they make the grade.

The ability to test new materials and finished prototypes in the same conditions as in the ones in which they will be used is a vital aspect of product development.

However, measuring the durability of a rucksack in an outdoor environment in inclement weather, over a long period, is difficult. Not only does it require a lot of equipment, the weather may suddenly vary, with conditions no longer those expected. The Sports Tech Research Centre’s wind tunnel at Mid Sweden University enables every parameter to be adjusted and controlled, making it easy to compare various products and materials with each other. One of the few facilities of its like worldwide, the tunnel was designed and built in support of product development and research within sports technology, the outdoors, and products for those with functional impairment.

- The majority of similar facilities were constructed for the automotive or aviation sectors, or with marine research in mind, but our centre is primarily intended for research by Mid Sweden University as well as interested companies, explains Mikael Bäckström, Professor and Head of the Sports Tech Research Centre.

In addition to testing clothing, footwear, sporting equipment and, for example, skiing aerodynamics, the wind tunnel is also of great benefit in the development of new products for those with impairment. There are plans for a partnership between the Sports Tech Research Centre and the Paralympic movement, with the aim of making competitions as fair as possible, through, for example, analysis of equipment. Over the next few years, the wind tunnel will undergo a number of modifications to enable enhanced experiences, and more reliable test results.

- We are planning to install a system for 3D motion measurement, extend the climate function and introduce a virtual reality system which enables, for example, visualization of forthcoming World Championship or Olympic cross country skiing or biathlon courses, adds Bäckström.


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