University of Manchester
VWTUE4_v2_Preprint.pdf (9.91 MB)

An Interactive, Virtual Wind Tunnel using Virtual Reality and Unreal Engine 4

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posted on 2021-06-22, 09:11 authored by Adrian HarwoodAdrian Harwood, Alistair Revell
This article presents an integrated, interactive modelling and simulation tool for aerodynamic design and analysis. The development and coupling of a GPU-accelerated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) library, a 3D scanning library and a virtual-reality-powered video game are presented and the resulting virtual wind tunnel described. Users of the tunnel may interact with both geometry and solver from within the virtual environment providing a truly unique tool for performing high-level aerodynamic analysis around imported and scanned objects. Here we introduce the relevant technologies and approaches used to build the components and discuss the technical challenges of integrating them. The flow solver is validated against experimental data for a representative turbulent flow and demonstrates excellent agreement with available data. We also present the peak performance of the solver on current hardware. Limitations and potential expansions for this proof of concept are discussed as well as applications in a range of other scientific fields.