AU Engineering Program Donates Wind Tunnel to Nearby High School



After five years of use, one of Anderson University’s School of Science and Engineering wind tunnels was recently donated to Greenfield-Central High School (G-CHS). The opportunity to donate the wind tunnel arose when AU was able to purchase a new tunnel, and instead of keeping both, decided to give back to the community. 

“Our science and engineering teachers are extremely delighted to receive it,” said Angela Crumlin, G-CHS engineering design and development facilitator

A wind tunnel is “a tunnel-like apparatus for producing an airstream of known velocity past models of aircraft, buildings, or other solid objects in order to investigate flow or the effect of wind on the full-sized object” — which, if you’re not a rocket scientist, means that it’s a large tube with air moving inside. 

Wind tunnels are used to mimic the actions of objects in motion. By moving air around an object in a controlled environment, studying the drag of that object is made easier. Wind tunnels are often used when designing aircraft, cars, and even spacecraft. 

“You can take different shapes and put them in the wind tunnel and we can measure the drag,” said Larry George, adjunct professor of engineering at G-CHS, “so we can see how much less force it takes to push it…and we can minimize the drag.”

According to George, AU’s engineering students have used the tunnel for all kinds of projects. He hopes that G-CHS,students will get the same use out of it.

“They might look at the drag of different shapes or might design a little car or airplane and put it in there to test it,” said George.

The high school has not had a wind tunnel in over 10 years. When their prior wind tunnel was functional, Crumlin explained that students would design a CO2 car, check its aerodynamics using the tunnel, and then redesign the car to reduce its drag. 

“Our engineering program is proud to support efforts of STEM education in our local school systems,” said Dr. Ben McPheron, chair of physical science and engineering, and associate professor of electrical engineering at Anderson University. “We are hoping that this partnership will help to encourage more high school students to pursue careers in engineering and engineering-related fields.”

Due to COVID-19, G-CHS classes have been moved to a hybrid format, but Crumlin hopes to brainstorm new project ideas over the summer for next school year when all students will be back in the building.

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.