The wind tunnel with a racoon

PHOTO MIKAYLA FASULLO

Wind tunnel on campus officially open

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By Mikayla Fasullo

On Nov. 19th Ryerson officially introduced its new wind tunnel. It’s said to expand the research of aerodynamics for students, staff and Ryerson’s partners. 

With a brand new 200 horsepower motor, Rye’s aerospace department has expanded its opportunities. “This has been a long time coming,” said chair of aerospace engineering department Paul Walsh. “I’ve been here to watch the whole process, and I’m glad to see this upgrade because it’s allowed us to do a lot more and expand our research.”

Earlier this month, The Eyeopener reported on the new wind tunnel while students were just getting a hang of how the new machine works. “It helps out because it allows a lot of our student teams to start testing their designs,” said aerospace engineering student Thomas Martin. Ryerson funded $80,000 for this project, with a team of 20 people.

The opening had a big turnout, filling the room in Kerr Hall with about 40 students, faculty members and interested partners. Students were excited to have the renovations in their program.

“This is a great thing for Ryerson,” said Baki Sibanda, a PhD student in aerospace engineering. “We needed to upgrade the wind tunnel and now we can test in a range we couldn’t before.”

Sibanda explained that the variety of thesis projects students can do increased a lot and the new wind tunnel will open up many new opportunities for certain industries.

Already the opportunities are arising. In the winter, a propulsion class will take advantage of the wind tunnel. Goetz Bramesfeld, assistant professor in aerospace engineering explained that not a lot of universities have the same resources we now have and that the wind tunnel is great for students in a number of ways.

“Other universities with this facility have it guarded,” Bramesfeld said. “People don’t let undergrads play with it and we’re pretty open to involve students to use it in projects.”

The tunnel even provides funding for some graduate students in the aerospace program.

For a demonstration, a toy raccoon was put in the wind tunnel with the power amped to 80 horsepower. The faux fur was flowing in the wind but the toy stayed put. Some visitors even stopped to take a selfie with the tunnel.

The faculty members and students of the aerospace department said they are thrilled to take advantage of the new wind tunnel and the opportunities that will be introduced in the future.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly identified Baki Sibanda as a first-year aerospace engineering student. In fact, Sibanda is a PhD student in that faculty. The Eyeopener regrets the error.

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