The Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment Dome, or WindEEE, will be constructed at the Advanced Manufacturing Park on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway and is scheduled to begin construction this fall, with a completion date set for the second quarter of 2013.
According to Andrew Hrymak, dean of engineering at Western, the project has been in the works for a number of years, but the project proposal to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation began in 2007 and was awarded in 2009.
“WindEEE will be able to generate mini-tornadoes that will be able to transverse the floor, as well as [generate] downbursts from overhead, and [explore] how these wind systems interact with structures,” Hrymak explained. “This will assist building engineers and planners to design for features that will both create safe zones as well as better building structures.”
The structure’s inner hexagonal dome will measure 25 metres in diameter and the outer return dome will measure 40 metres. On the peripheral walls of the dome, specialized fans will allow for time-varying and spatially-varying flow fields in the test section.
For the first time, laboratory tornado-like flows will be able to simulate the equivalent of F3 Fujita scale intensity winds.
“One of the mega-trends in engineering is the development of sustainable infrastructure, especially in urban areas,” Hrymak observed. “As we develop more densely populated cities, we need to make them more energy efficient and sustainable, from a climate perspective.”
The dome will help explore how to design energy-efficient and sustainable buildings under different weather conditions, and how to efficiently generate electrical energy through solar and wind devices. Dispersion of pollutants and the effects of winds on forests and plant canopies will also be studied.
“WindEEE is unique—it’s an exciting opportunity for Western to maintain its international leadership in wind engineering and broaden it to sustainable infrastructure, which is only going to grow as an area of technological importance,” Hrymak concluded.