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GM Builds New Wind Tunnel at Warren Campus

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General Motors announced today the construction of a new reduced scale wind tunnel test facility at the company’s Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.

The 35,000-square-foot Reduced Scale Wind Tunnel will be used to test the aerodynamics of clay models that are up to 40% of the vehicle’s actual size. A conveyor-style rolling road system enables GM engineers to simulate real highway driving conditions up to speeds of 155 mph. The new wind tunnel will help them reduce the wind drag of the full-size models.

Detailed and appropriately scaled underbodies and engine blocks are created for the clay models using advanced 3D printing machines. With working suspensions and spinning wheels, the models are more accurate and able to provide aerodynamic engineers with a better understanding of how airflow will affect the vehicle’s underbody while in motion, resulting in quieter and more fuel-efficient GM cars and trucks.

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The new reduced scale wind tunnel is located next to GM’s full-scale tunnel, which dates back to 1980.

“The combined capabilities of our new reduced-scale and full-scale wind tunnels allow us to reach industry-leading levels of aerodynamic refinement,” said GM Global Product Integrity Vice President Ken Morris. “We view the new $30 million reduced scale wind tunnel as an investment towards a better, more energy-efficient future.”

Next year, GM will also upgrade the original full-scale wind tunnel with its own full-scale rolling road system, among other improvements.