Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Patrick H Browning

Committee Co-Chair

Wade Huebsch

Committee Member

John Kuhlman


The interaction with the planetary atmosphere is an unavoidable fact when dealing with problems related to aerodynamic studies within the confines of the planet. These include flow effects on bridges, buildings, and various terrain types. Researchers look for more realistic approaches to modeling the complex behavior of the turbulent atmosphere. Environmental wind tunnels (EWTs) were specifically developed to meet this need.;Using parts donated by Cornell University to West Virginia University, a new EWT was built to allow researchers at West Virginia University to begin studying interactions with flow phenomena present in Earth's atmosphere. Problems in the original design required sections of the EWT to the be redesigned, including irregular flow in the contraction, separation of flow in the wide angle diffuser, and a lack of adequately reliable methods of flow control.;Each tunnel section was individually examined and redesigned for optimal performance using a variety of tools. Contraction shapes were compared using computational fluid dynamics to obtain optimal flow entering the fetch. Analytical methods were deployed using techniques developed over the past decades to design a fetch that can accurately simulate planetary boundary layer growth. New controls were added to allow more diverse conditions and increased customization, such as the addition of variable frequency drives to vary test section velocity. Once construction was complete qualification of the EWT was required to model characteristics of the tunnel for future user benefits. This thesis presents an exhaustive qualification method for the newly constructed EWT.