Challenge in the air
Built in 1997, the Galleria del Vento (Wind Tunnel) is the first step in the "Formula Uomo" programme. Rather than a building, it seems to be part of an engine: and, as its designer, Renzo Piano, intended, it is this that distinguishes it visually from other similar structures. Its central element is the tubular duct 80 metres in length where a flow of air is generated that is high quality in terms of turbulence, angularity and uniformity. The turbine guarantees an airflow of about 250 kph for models in 1:2 scale and about 150 kph for life-size models and real vehicles. Thanks to a mechanism controlled by over 300 sensors and a conveyor belt synchronized with the wind speed, it is possible to simulate and monitor on the models all attitudes and movements when they are in motion: rolling, yawing, pitching and swerving.
The Wind Tunnel looks like a large cylinder placed horizontally and closed at both ends by a Cshaped tubular duct. In this tunnel, the airflow is created by a turbine fan with a power of 2,200 kW, while sophisticated equipment keeps the temperature range down to 0.5 °C. The electronic system of recording and processing of analogical and digital data regarding the acting forces and the speed, direction and turbulence of the wind is in constant implementation.