Visit from Kaveh Kabir

Long-time FLIP collaborator and materials researcher Kaveh Kabir of Macquarie University in Australia visited Poly recently, to work with Graham Doig on a couple of projects. While here, he found himself being drafted to mentor the PROVE Lab solar car structures team, and giving well-received talks to both the Cal Poly Biomimicry Club about his work on foam structures and echidna spines (above) and the Materials Engineering Student Society (MESS).

Some of the MESS students spent an hour afterwards chatting to Kaveh
about his work - we hope he can get back to California soon!


PROVE Lab design review in San Francisco

Cal Poly’s PROVE Lab (Prototype Vehicles Laboratory) traveled to San Francisco for the first review of the team’s initial designs for a car to break the international solar-powered land speed record!

Representing the 60+ students from 13 different majors that make up the full organization, Project Manager Will Sutton (BS Aero 2017), along with faculty adviser Dr. Graham Doig, led the interdisciplinary team of Mustangs in presenting their designs to experienced engineers from Tesla Motors and Google X who are mentoring the team. As well as getting valuable feedback and a vote of confidence from the pros, PROVE Lab was invited for a special tour of the Stanford Solar Car Team’s workshop and got to see their most recent solar car from the 2015 World Solar Challenge race in Australia.

So, is a 65mph car possible on about the same amount of solar energy it would take to run a hairdryer?? Cal Poly students are going to prove it in 2017!


It lives!


The Low Speed Wind Tunnel was turned on today for the first time in 7
months, the new test section is performing nicely, and with all the
upgrades we found another 5% power. Great to hear that soundtrack! Now
for the rolling road, force balance, laser measurement system, probe
traverse… still a lot of work to do. Andrew Furmidge (ME), Matt Paul
(Aero), Riess Haslam (Aero), Danny Stalters (Aero), David Alexander
(Aero), Troy Wollman (Aero), Noah Sadler (ME) and Neiman Walker (Aero)
are on the case!




New Cornering Wind Tunnel turns heads at AIAA SciTech Forum

New wind tunnels are built now and again, but very rarely is a new type of wind tunnel constructed!

Cal Poly Aerospace Engineering Professor Graham Doig is at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Forum in San Diego this week, introducing the recently-completed work of his former PhD student James Keogh in tackling a problem that has vexed aerodynamicists for decades - how to make a wind tunnel to produce an accurate curved flow of air over a vehicle to replicate the same conditions that a cornering car would experience in the real world.

To do so, Doig and Keogh invented a new type of wind tunnel that rotates around a vertical axis. They relied heavily on high-performance computing to simulate the aerodynamics and optimize the tunnel design before any parts were even machined or 3d printed at Keogh’s home university of UNSW Australia where the tunnel was built and tested in collaboration with Cal Poly.

In the experiment, air follows a curved path around a vehicle model and as a result the true cornering condition can be finally obtained for fresh insight into vehicle performance and dynamics. “Although the rig is a small-scale first prototype, the announcement of the new tunnel design at the AIAA SciTech forum this week has already made an impression on aerodynamicists from NASA and elsewhere” says Doig. “I showed the design to the aero team at a US car company recently and they were intrigued - it’s been a very long time since someone took a completely new approach to trying to reproduce these real world driving conditions so closely”.

So will we be seeing a new, improved mark II cornering wind tunnel at Cal Poly any time soon? While Keogh’s now busy with a new job at Manor Formula 1 team in England, Dr. Doig plans to continue working in this field as part of a new push at Cal Poly to have students tackle automotive as well as aircraft aerodynamic problems . The centerpiece of this strategy is the new rolling road wind tunnel test section currently being constructed in the Aerospace Engineering Department’s Low Speed Wind Tunnel, which is continuing to raise funds from donations as it transforms into a unique, modern facility. “Accurate validation of complex simulation results through physical testing, with an increased focus on properly reproducing proper real-world air flow conditions and turbulence - that’s what industry needs right now” claims Doig. “We see California’s rapidly-growing automotive industry in the news time and again, and Cal Poly is well on its way to having a modern range of facilities that will allow our students to get advanced, hands-on experience that they’ll need to secure jobs in the world of vehicle aerodynamic research and development”.


Read more about cornering aerodynamics here.






Kyll Schomberg wins award

FLIP PhD candidate Kyll Schomberg was recently awarded a ‘highly commended’ prize by the Vice Chancellor (Ian Jacobs, right) and Dean of Engineering (Mark Hoffman, left) for his talk “back to basics: design of rocket nozzle contours using circular arcs” at the inaugural postgraduate symposium at UNSW Australia. The prize included $500 cash and the opportunity to present in front of over 100 attendees from both academia and industry.


November Visitors

We had a lot of friends and supporters at Cal Poly in November. Pictured top with Dr. Graham Doig, former UNSW Australia FLIP undergrad Brandon Wong came through San Luis Obispo on vacation before returning to Sydney to continue his motorsport career. Pictured bottom, NASA’s Kurt Long, who manages the Ames Fluid Mechanics Lab and does some of the coolest stuff in the world, visited Graham’s AERO302 class to talk about a few of the most recent projects his team’s been tackling. Our students were able to match NASA engineers for ideas in why they’ve been seeing a strange “blue flame” out the back of a combustion-free engine…

Lastly, not pictured but really important to us, Jim Frank from the Raintree Foundation visited the Low Speed Wind Tunnel Lab. Jim has been a huge supporter of our department and the wind tunnel refurb project and we hope to be able to show him even more progress next time he’s here!


Cal Poly ME Senior Project Design Review presentations

FLIP is sponsoring two Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering senior projects this academic year: November means preliminary design reviews!

Dylan, Laura, Kurt and Gordon are working up a mechanized seal flipper rig for our small water channel to allow 3d printed flipper motion to be researched. Laura Kawashiri is president of Cal Poly’s Biomimicry Club.

Ryan, Brady and Sam are designing a wheel support for the rolling road test section in our upgraded wind tunnel.




Kyle Forster visits Cal Poly

 In the middle of a busy quarter here in San Luis Obipso, UNSW Australia PhD student Kyle Forster paid a visit to use our water channel for his vortex generator experiments, and give a guest lecture to Dr. Doig’s CFD class. And probably drive really fast in something ridiculous.





Cal Poly Low Speed Wind Tunnel Refurb: Week 4

Thanks to our partners Futura Industries, we now have ridiculous amounts of T-Slot Aluminum with which to build the new test section around our rolling road - Riess Haslam (AERO), Matt Paul (AERO) and Danny Stalters (AERO) have been hitting the construction phase this week under the direction of Andrew Furmidge (ME) - here’s a preview of what it’s going to look like!


Cal Poly Low Speed Wind Tunnel Refurb, Week 2


This week we cleared out the middle of the lab and our rolling road was moved into position (no small feat… it was heavy enough to sink some grooves into the tarmac outside). We’ll be building a new test section around it with Andrew Furmidge’s design, thanks to a great partnership with Futura Industries who are helping us with the huge amount of T-slot aluminum we need to make a modular, modern home around the road. 

Lab Technician Cody Thompson was also on hand to help Matt Paul and Riess Haslam part-dismantle the inlet section so we can space out the mesh and honeycomb sections to better smooth the turbulence out of the incoming air. 

Lastly, we had a special visit from Ben Morrell (pictured here with Dr. Doig), a PhD student from the University of Sydney, Australia, who is currently working at Texas A&M University and MIT on a robot that can “fly” itself around the International Space Station. His advisor? None other than Dr. Greg Chamitoff, former NASA astronaut and Cal Poly Electrical Engineering graduate (‘84). Small world.”


Cal Poly Low Speed Wind Tunnel summer refurbishment week 1


More big changes are happening in Dr. Doig’s wind tunnel lab this summer. After months of planning and designing, the student design team is taking apart the old test section to make way for the rolling road that was donated to Cal Poly by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers to support aerodynamic development for Cal Poly’s many vehicle projects. A new high-tech test section will be built over the coming months - more updates as they happen! 

Students: Andrew Furmidge, Lead Design Engineer: Major - Mechanical;
Matt Paul, Senior Design Engineer: Graduate - Aerospace; Danny Stalters,
Support Engineer: Major - Aerospace; Riess Haslam, Support Engineer:
Major - Aerospace; Eduardo Viera-Goulart, CFD Design Intern: Major -
Aerospace (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais); Sal Estevez,
Technician Assistant: Major - Mechanical.

The refurb crew isn’t quite flat out, they still found time to have a game of football (as Dr. Doig is going to make sure everyone calls it).



Particle Image Velocimetry…ing.

UNSW Australia PhD candidate Kyle Forster has been characterizing the wind tunnel at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia - why Macquarie? Former F1 aerodynamicist Dr. Sammy Diasinos is Kyle’s co-supervisor and oversees the wind tunnel lab there.

This tunnel had recently been relocated from the University of Technology Sydney campus to Macquarie, and very little was known about it’s aerodynamic properties.

For this a 4 hole cobra probe with integrated pressure transducers was used, in conjunction with a static only pitot probe to provide reference pressure. These components were housed in a custom 3D printed enclosure which was then mounted in the end of a section of aerofoil section steel tube.

The aerofoil section eliminates the vortex shedding frequencies associated with a cylindrical tube, reducing noise in the signal. This whole assembly was mounted to a Dantec automated traverse and connected to a National Instruments Data Acquisition Card, allowing the entire rig to be controlled from the same computer with no human interaction. The rig was a great success, allowing quick characterization runs at varying speeds and room conditions (doors opened and closed), with each run only taking around 15 minutes to complete. With an average turbulence intensity of only 0.25% and a nicely uniform velocity profile, this tunnel is good to go!

Particle image velocimetry (PIV) is a non-intrusive, laser-based technique for measuring velocities in air (or water…!) flows.

Getting a new PIV system running consistently on a wind tunnel is no mean feat, as Kyle found out! To test out the system, a Tyrell T026 wing was set up in the Macquarie University tunnel, with PIV being used to measure wake velocity in a plane along the streamwise direction. To start with the laser sheet was aligned to the desired location, with a focus block being placed under the sheet. A 150mm lens was used on the cooled CCD camera, allowing it to be placed back 2 metres from the area of interest, reducing perspective error and improving access to the tunnel. After seeding the whole room with DEHS, the tunnel was run up to 15m/s and measurements were taken at a bunch of angles of attack, providing useful data for teaching purposes as well as troubleshooting the system.

Stay tuned for more FLIP updates from Kyle as he delves into the art and science of vortex generators and how to sustain vortices over extremely long distances.


Happy Birthday, Sunswift


Graham Doig gets a shout out in the latest version of UNSW Engineering’s magazine celebrating 20 years of Sunswift solar car racing team. Dr. Doig was heavily involved in Sunswift over the last few years, and has written about the project and its impact for the SAE and various other outlets as regular FLIP followers will know. Now at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, Graham has some new, grand plans to take this kind of project to the next level… stay tuned for some big announcements….


Using Format