Student project creates wind tunnel

Student project creates wind tunnel

CPIT engineering student Christopher Lowe has blown away his tutors with his final year project.

Lowe, 23, has spent over 600 hours building a functioning wind tunnel and was so enthusiastic about the task that he begged his tutors to let finish the project during the summer holidays.

For the final year of his Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Mechanical), Lowe had to complete a 300 hour project. He decided to create a wind tunnel due to his interest in fluids and thermo dynamics.

“It really started in the design stage and then just kept growing from there. It’s been a really amazing practical experience.”

The project turned out to be much bigger than he expected and he put in over 600 hours on the tunnel, including building the fan system, before school year ended.

Lowe asked his tutors for an extension to work on the tunnel, which he has nick-named Lucy. He now has six weeks to complete the project.

“I’m just really keen to finish what I started.”

Wind tunnel

Christopher Lowe works on his project as part of his final year of his Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree.

‎His tutor Graeme Harris says the wind tunnel was a “marvellous piece of work”.

“We had a group of visitors from overseas who couldn’t believe that the tunnel was made by hand. They kept asking me which machine had made the tunnel, and they were blown away when I told them one of our students made it,” he says.

“Chris put in a lot of hard work. It was such a big project. It was really a job for two people.”

Harris says the tunnel will be a useful tool for teaching in a range of areas including engineering, architectural studies and sports science.

If the fan system in Lowe’s tunnel proves successful, the design could be extended to the construction of a larger wind tunnel system.

Once Lowe puts the finishing touches on the tunnel, he will be applying for full-time jobs. However, he would like to stay in touch with CPIT over the wind tunnel’s future.

“It’s been a really awesome experience and something impressive to have on my CV. I just hope if another student takes over the wind tunnel project next year they care about it as much as I have.”