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Old 11-12-2015, 09:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New GM Wind Tunnel

Press release on GM's new scale wind tunnel in Warren:

New GM Wind Tunnel Accelerates Fuel-Saving Designs



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Old 11-12-2015, 11:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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From the article:
Quote:
Advanced 3D printing machines create underbodies and engine blocks that are detailed and to scale for the reduced sized clay models. Working suspensions with spinning wheels allow aerodynamic engineers to better examine how airflow affects a vehicle’s underbody while in motion, resulting in quieter cars and trucks that can cost customers less to operate.
I've suspected that part of the GM bail out years ago included an agreement to make cars like the Volt.

I have read that Ford received stimulus money for simply converting light truck plants into making smaller fuel efficient cars.

These events were way back in 2009-ish (some tied to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).

I'm just wondering if this facility is an outcrop of that funding, or more of a response to the heightened fuel economy requirements on the horizon.

2012
Obama Administration Finalizes Historic 54.5 MPG Fuel Efficiency Standards
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press...iency-standard
Quote:
WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama Administration today finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. When combined with previous standards set by this Administration, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on our roads. In total, the Administration’s national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.
Not just cars, heavy trucks too.


2014
White House to Toughen Fuel Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles
President Obama Announces New Fuel Economy Regulations | TIME.com

If anyone finds an article linking government grants and or loans to the building of this new wind tunnel please post it. For now it's just a suspicion of mine based on previous events.

Some (Industry Lobbyists) may have felt it was unfair to hike up standards which may impose a financial burden on the car industry, without some vehicle/means/government guaranteed loans to help reach these goals.

Excluding the politics of regulation, the idea of 3D printing scaling down the costs of running different models though it at a more rapid pace is news worthy to say the least.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What is that, a wind tunnel for ants?
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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1/10 scale up to 40% scale models

GM's Reduced Scale Wind Tunnel latest testing facility and their 'Honey I've shrunk the kids' models are not just the exterior shells but also include 3D printed highly detailed engines, moving suspension hardware and detailed underbody contours to properly test functional performance on a rolling conveyor road/belt system. Aero-thermodynamic analysis of the component cooling and under body flow effects can also be tested. The downscaling allows to test the new model designs up to 155 mph. The old-school clay models have a limited test life as they eventually dry out, change shape and are destroyed. The new super-realistic and quicker prototyping with ABS, PC or ULTEM thermoplastics are more accurate, durable, repeatable and stable over time.

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Old 11-12-2015, 05:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Anything a kid could get in and pedal around is 1/4th scale, not 1/10th. And it's at the lower limit for the 4 load cells.

Rolling road only between the load cells? Reverse tricycles are just right out.
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think 1/6th scale is the smallest you can go with boats, ships and hovercraft/SES scale model testing.

This 40% scale number in the article is the max-size.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So does this also mean a lower power draw when doing the testing ?
Wind tunnels are huge power hogs.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kach22i View Post
Some (Industry Lobbyists) may have felt it was unfair to hike up standards which may impose a financial burden on the car industry, without some vehicle/means/government guaranteed loans to help reach these goals.
And that financial burden gets pushed directly to consumers.

I'm already baffled as to how normal people can afford a new car. Even with seven (Seven!!!) year car loans, the monthly costs for a typical new car are far too high for me to justify. It seems impossible to me for the median household income (~$52k) to buy a median priced car (~$33k).
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It would sure be fun to work there!
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kach22i View Post
This 40% scale number in the article is the max-size.
A 40% scale model has 6.4% (0.4) the volume of a full size model. 3D printing something with 6.4% the volume is certainly faster and cheaper. The tunnel is smaller too. I think that's the major advantage here, the whole process gets cheaper.

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