The Building Research Institute (ÉTI) and its successor, ÉMI Non-Profit Limited Liability Company for Quality Control and Innovation in Building (ÉMI) performs numerous experiments in the area of building and environmental aerodynamics inside a small boundary layer wind tunnel, which is enlarged to a medium size in 1984 (2.2 x 1.4 m test section cross-section, 9.3 m test section length). Among others, the wind load on buildings with special shapes (e.g. bell towers) and the connection between the heating costs and building orientation at microdistricts (which were built at the time) are examined.
The Department of Fluid Mechanics at BME conducts many similar investigations in its Göttingen-type wind tunnel, often in collaboration with other University partners (e.g. researchers at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Faculty of Architecture) and partners abroad as well (see references). Due to its short test section (as it was originally built for vehicle aerodynamics purposes), this wind tunnel can only be used for building and environmental aerodynamics measurements with a small model scale (max. 1:350 scale).
The two institutions offer R&D services together under the name Theodore von Kármán Wind Tunnel Laboratory.
The Department of Fluid Mechanics at BME purchases the usable elements of ÉMI’s boundary layer wind tunnel (emptied due to the reorganization of the company), and places them inside the AE building’s yard under a glass roof due to lack of space. The outdoor location makes it impossible to perform scientific measurements (temperature variation, freezing temperatures in winter, humidity fluctuation, dust, lack of darkening). The need emerges to establish a closed laboratory in order to properly make use of the wind tunnel.
The „Atmospheric Flow Laboratory” (AFL) concept is born as the Department of Fluid Mechanics (with the support of the University leadership) has a laboratory building designed in the AE building yard, in which the rebuilt wind tunnel would be placed. According to the plans, the existing ÉMI boundary layer wind tunnel would be lengthened. It would suck the air from outside the building, but as the wind tunnel itself would be indoors, it would be more independent of the weather (see the poster of the concept and the gallery below). Following a lengthy licensing procedure, the construction license for the design made by M Architect Ltd. is granted on May 28th, 2013.
Within the three-year validity of the construction license, there is no call for project proposals in the region of Central Hungary which would make it possible to realize the closed laboratory.
A project proposal group is formed for the VEKOP 2.3.3-15 project proposal with the participation of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The material for the proposal received positive evaluation by the RDI policy-based evaluation of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFI). This is the only proposal out of the four BME proposals which is judged positively. However, despite the efforts to exploit the construction license, the submission to the proposal’s first round failed due to the expiry of the license on May 28th.
Upon consideration of the opinions received from foreign wind tunnel experts since 2013, the Department of Fluid Mechanics decides to redesign the wind tunnel and the laboratory instead of obtaining new licenses for the existing plans which also seems to be problematic. This allows the infrastructure to truly meet the international standards.
According to the plans, the test section of the new wind tunnel (Width x Height x Length: 3.3 x 2.2 x 15 m) would be about 30% larger than that of the ÉMI wind tunnel, which allows for experiments with models on a scale of approximately 1:200. As it uses the air inside the laboratory, it can operate all year, independently of the weather conditions. Due to the area requirements (approx. 28 x 9.5 m, with 6 m ceiling height) eight variations are investigated for the location, of which the version ‘I’ proves to be realizable. In this version, another floor is built on the top of the AE building.
January 4th, 2017
Submission of the project proposal.
June 2nd, 2017
According to the Ministry for National Economy’s State Secretary for Regional Development Programmes’ decision, the project will be funded with a sum of 411 242 980 HUF (approx. 1.3 million EUR). 75% of the sum comes from the EU, and 25% from the Hungarian Government.
July 24th, 2017
The funding contract of the project comes into force.
August 31st, 2019
New laboratory hall completed.
August 31st, 2020
Wind tunnel completed, the acquired new measurement systems put into operation.