Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Defoe, Jeff


Approach, Cascade, CFD, Design, Open-loop, Wind tunnel




Currently available literature regarding the design of fluid flow systems tend to focus on the specific system without providing a general guideline for how to address the design problem. This thesis focuses on developing such a general approach which is applied to the design of a wind tunnel meant for the University of Windsor. It is shown that, by applying the first principles of fluid mechanics to the problem, the components required, for operation of the wind tunnel within set constraints and requirements are identified. Numerical simulations are performed in two parts: 1) two-dimensional computational fluid dynamics simulations, which enable a parametric study of each component, and 2) three-dimensional computations, which provide a more accurate estimation of the performance of the wind tunnel. By following these steps, it is found that computational cost is greatly reduced by first sizing the components during the parametric study. The metrics used to assess the wind tunnel performance are the flow non-uniformity and the total pressure loss coefficient throughout the tunnel. The first principles based approach yields a set of components, respecting the constraints set while two-dimensional computations allows the determination of the wind tunnel dimensions and estimation of its performance, which is verified by a three-dimensional computation. Employing this approach, a successful wind tunnel design rated with a maximum volume flow rate of 12.9 m^{3}/s at a test section inlet velocity of 40 m/s with the ability to be attached to different test sections is achieved. This wind tunnel comprises a fan followed by a constant area duct leading to a diffuser, which is attached to a flow conditioner. The last component is a nozzle directing the flow into the test section. The wind tunnel operates with an estimated 8% flow non-uniformity at the nozzle exit together with a total pressure loss coefficient of 0.238 based on the test section inlet dynamic pressure.