>Audi can now take advantage of the possibilities offered by a one-of-a-kind climate simulator.
With the unveiling of the new climatic wind tunnel in Ingolstadt, AUDI AG once again follows its philosophy of “Vorsprung durch Technik.” With the tunnel, cars can be tested under highly realistic conditions in icy cold or blazing heat and with wind speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. “Its wide diversity of uses is absolutely unique,” said Peter Fromm, Head of Superstructure Development at AUDI AG. The company has invested about €20 million in the new climatic wind tunnel, making it the latest addition to Audi’s modern wind tunnel center in Ingolstadt.
“The new climatic wind tunnel is another milestone in technical development at Audi,” said Dr. Stefan Dietz, Audi project manager. “Its technical innovations will provide us with an even greater bandwidth of testing possibilities in the future.” In contrast to the already existing thermal wind tunnel, the climatic wind tunnel can also cool the temperature to further below zero, thus achieving a maximum temperature range from minus 25 to plus 55 degrees Celsius. Aside from climate tests such as low-temperature or de-icing tests at extreme temperatures, cooling simulations can also be conducted at very high speeds and high temperatures. Tests of the cooling abilities of the oil and coolant circuit, engine or interior are therefore possible at temperatures ranging from searing heat to arctic cold.
The Audi climatic wind tunnel is the first facility of its type that can generate speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. Along with heat and cold, rain simulations and sun simulations with up to 1,200 watts per square meter are also possible. Snow can also be created as needed. “With the climatic wind tunnel, we’ve acquired another instrument that will allow us to effectively contribute to reducing CO2 . Optimized and economical cooling systems can be developed for cars based on the insights gained on the test stands,” Dietz said.
And neither does the climatic wind tunnel present any limitations when it comes to large SUVs, sports cars or quattro models. The six-square-meter air jets that force air into the test section make it possible, without modification, to develop and then further enhance the newest generation of cars. During construction of the wind tunnel, a dual-axis drive developing 250 kW (340 hp) was installed for cars with permanent all-wheel drive, which also makes it possible to test quattro models under realistic conditions.
The climatic wind tunnel is part of the AUDI AG wind tunnel center in Ingolstadt, which includes three wind tunnels covering more than 10,000 square meters and currently employs 40 people. Along with the main task of advancing the development and optimization of Audi’s car models, the facility also offers outstanding research conditions for top athletes. Visitors in recent years have included competitive skiers from Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, as well as Australian swimming star Ian Thorpe.