The air is moving through the $ 124 million test bench at speeds of nearly 320 km per hour.
HALO or Honda Automotive Laboratories of Ohio is “the most advanced wind tunnel in the world,” according to Honda, offering three distinct test capabilities – aerodynamics, aeroacoustics and racing – with which to develop Honda and Acura products, as well as conduct science and general research.
“I can tell you that our new HALO wind tunnel will be an incredible new asset for our engineers as well as others who have evolved in aerodynamic research in America, providing a new and essential resource for future innovations,” said Jim Keller, EVP Honda Development and Manufacturing of America.
“This new wind tunnel and our safety research center will provide our research and development engineers with two world-class facilities in Ohio to support the design and development of new products.”
When vehicles are operated in a wind tunnel, they travel on what is essentially a giant treadmill belt. These belts are designed to control the boundary layer between the floor and the vehicle, a critical factor in generating accurate aerodynamic data, explained Mike Unger, Wind Tunnel Lead at HALO.
A remarkable project
HALO uses two 40-ton belt modules: a standard “wide” belt, which fits under the entire vehicle and works well for sedans and other low-traffic vehicles, and a 5-belt system that puts one under each tire. fifth under the whole vehicle and is intended for testing SUVs. Each can be exchanged with the other in less than four hours.
For acoustic testing, HALO uses more than 500 external microphones embedded in the wind tunnel and another 54 microphones inside the vehicle. Thanks to a new network of microphones, Honda technicians can switch the wind tunnel from aerodynamic testing to aeroacoustic testing in just half an hour – a process that used to take about half a day.
The tunnel has a test area measuring 3m x 5m x 15m, large enough to accommodate up to a large delivery van. Its 8 m diameter fan is equipped with a dozen hollow, fixed pitch carbon fiber blades that rotate up to 253 rpm, powered by a 5 MW electric motor, 6,700 hp and generate wind speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour.
Honda began development of the HALO facility in 2015, in what was initially an effort to mitigate the company’s costs for its technicians’ flight and its prototypes worldwide so that they could be tested.
However, the company does not intend to expand the research capabilities of its new unit.