"The true method of knowledge is experiment" - William Blake
Towards the end of my junior year, my physics teacher challenged the class to work on a final project that would encompass all that we have learned over the year. We had the choice to learn something new, hone a specific discipline, or develop a method to teach the class about a specific subject. In my mind, I knew that I wanted to find a project that encompassed all three of these criteria. This is how I, along with my classmate Ian Kelley, stumbled upon building our first wind tunnel.
Going into this project, we did not know much about wind tunnels, much less how to build one. After our build, we published a guide on Instructables (available here). Within a few days, it grew on a humongous, unanticipated scale. We were able to receive feedback from individuals that were experts in the field of aerodynamics and fluid dynamics. Inspired by their support and constructive criticism, we went back to the drawing board and asked ourselves what could we do to improve our design. After a long iterative process, we were able to compile and assimilate the suggested ideas and started to build. This ible is meant more as a guide to learn from and is meant to work in tandem to the first guide. Some specific details may be left out intentionally to allow for a certain degree of independence and creativity. Experiment!.
Without a further ado, I would like to present our DIY Wind Tunnel 2.0, Project Paperclip.
Although wind tunnels are not as prevalent as other high precision instruments, they have huge implications on the everyday lives of everyone and everything on Earth and beyond. From cars, airplanes, and space-faring vehicles, to buildings, bridges, and skyscrapers, knowledge and understanding gained from wind tunnel research provides a conduit for mankind's drive for innovation.
Now how does a wind tunnel work? Well the physics behind it are based off of the work of Daniel Bernoulli, a Swiss physicist. Many might remember him from the equation that you learned in physics back in high school of constant= P + 1/2 p v^2 + p g h. An equation he helped contribute to, the continuity expression in physics of A1V1=A2V2. This provides the foundation of wind tunnels by showing how if you decrease the cross sectional area, your speed subsequently increases.