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?
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