Students in the wind tunnel

Access to research labs provides student satisfaction

​By using research infrastructure in teaching, the understanding of the subject increases. The feedback from the students is very positive. These are the experiences of the teaching staff in vehicle engineering and autonomous systems.
​Simone Sebben is head of division and professor at the Division of Vehicle Engineering and Autonomous Systems. Together with her colleagues, she works with courses in vehicle aerodynamics and vehicle engineering, among other things. Some of the elements in the courses are located in research infrastructure at Chalmers. An example of such infrastructure is Chalmers wind tunnels, which go by the name Chalmers Laboratory of Fluids and Thermal Sciences. 

“To understand vehicle aerodynamics, it is important that students can do something practical. In reality, seeing what happens to, for example, aerodynamic drag, when they make a change to a vehicle with their own hands is very good for their learning" says Simone Sebben. 

That type of learning is only possible in a wind tunnel, she says. The students work in groups and together they make different configurations which they test. Then they get to present their results and write a report. Simone sees this as the most important moment because the students then must put into words the results they experienced. 

Good for the students' resume 

“We get very positive feedback. It increases interest in the course and constitutes a good addition to the students' resume. They can write that they have worked in a wind tunnel and that they know the basic principles of how one works, which is welcomed by the industry" says Simone Sebben who herself has a background from having worked with aerodynamics at Volvo. 

In addition to the wind tunnel, the students have also gained access to Asta Zero, the driving simulator Caster as well as Revere and Intelligent vehicles and robots laboratory, which deals with self-driving vehicles, active safety and vehicle dynamics. 

Unique for Chalmers 

Having this kind of infrastructure available to students makes Chalmers unique. This is not the norm, says Alexey Vdovin, a researcher in the Division of Vehicle Engineering and Autonomous Systems, who also uses the infrastructure in his teaching. 

“It is highly appreciated by students as they can get experience in Computational Fluid Dynamics but also in real-life testing. Students can compare the simulation results to real-life behaviour of the airflow. They learn more by doing it this way” says Alexey Vdovin. 

Valery Chernoray is a professor at the Division of Fluid Dynamics and responsible for the wind tunnel. He agrees with the teachers' observations. He believes that even if an engineer uses virtual tools, an engineer must also be able to build things in reality. 

"The connection between virtual tools and reality is central and the laboratories provide this necessary link" he says. 

Do you want to work in a wind tunnel during your studies? 

Then you should choose the master's program Mobility engineering. The development of autonomous and electric vehicles is rapidly changing the transport industry. Chalmers University of Technology is now launching a master's programme that will prepare engineers to face the industry's major transformation and the challenges that lie ahead. 

The new master's programme Mobility Engineering, which starts in the autumn of 2021 at Chalmers, will train engineers to develop sustainable, high-performance mobility solutions and handle challenges within electrification, automation, simulation, and the reliability of vehicles. 

Read more 

Page manager Published: Tue 23 Feb 2021.