The WindEEE Dome is unlike any other facility in the world. With 106 real-time controlled fans and hundreds of flow modifiers, the first hexagonal wind chamber gives researchers the ability to modify the wind patterns and change their direction during a simulation. The result is the creation of any type of complex wind systems—including tornadoes, downbursts and hurricanes. By recreating these systems, researchers will have the opportunity to test models of buildings, structures and flow fields in real-time and with the greatest accuracy to date. Further, its large scale structure (25 meters diameter for the inner dome and 40 meters diameter for the outer return dome) allows for wind simulations over extended areas and complex terrain.
The Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory is considered the birthplace of the modern practice of wind engineering and its researchers have made countless structures the world over safer and more economical – including many iconic and instantly recognized buildings and bridges like the CN Tower and The Confederation Bridge.
For more than 50 years, the group’s expertize was shared with undergrad and graduate students, thus preparing the next generation of Canadian wind researchers and engineers. Also, the lab is continuously developing unique capabilities to support its academic mandate with cutting-edge technologies.
Affectionately named the “Three Little Pigs”, this facility enables for the first time anywhere, the application of realistically simulated time and spatially varying wind loads to full-scale houses and light-frame structures including sheet steel buildings, in a controlled manner, up to failure. This permits an assessment of the integrity of the overall structure of the building, the pathways by which the load is transmitted through the structure to the ground and the performance of individual building components as part of the whole construction.
In addition, the facility enables the assessment of factors influencing the ingress of moisture due to wind-driven rain and the development of harmful mold growth under realistic environmental conditions. Further, information on human error during the construction process can be collected and its impact on the potential damage and failure be analyzed.