Welcome to the Tech Race. When record speed
is the target, small details make
a huge difference. The most aerodynamic position
is crucial for athletes. How can wind reveal
the winning posture? (WIND TUNNEL) The wind tunnel can be applied
to almost any sport. We see the impact that
practising under controlled conditions can have on
athletes that practise sports such as windsurf, sailing,
bobsleigh and luge. Only artificial wind
can provide a stable direction and force that makes it possible
to calculate useful data impossible to obtain
in real-life conditions. It helps us a lot
because on the track we can hardly test things
in terms of aerodynamics, because outside there are far
too many changing conditions. In winter, during training, the temperature,
the air humidity or the state of the ice varies. (GERMANY) (MUNICH) At a Research and Innovation
Centre in Munich, the bobsleigh,
skeleton and luge athletes meet aerodynamic experts that can help them
maximise efficiency and shave valuable seconds
off their times. We measure the force
exerted by the wind on the vehicle and the athlete. And then we try to optimise it. That means having as little wind force
on the athlete as possible. We see what we can optimise
on the sports devices and what is the best position
for the athlete in order to be
as aerodynamic as possible. Unlike real driving tests,
here the vehicle doesn’t move and the wind
is blown over the vehicle. The wind tunnel’s fan spans
a diameter of eight metres, and reaches speeds of
300 revolutions per minute whilst using
4.4 megawatts of power and generating gusts of wind that can reach
an impressive 300km per hour. As you can’t see the wind,
we have to make it visible. And we do that with smoke. Thanks to the smoke, we can see where
the wind flow detaches and where it flows well around
the vehicle and the athlete. In the control room,
we control the entire system – the wind, the line speed,
that is, the moving floor. The speed of the wind
is generated by adjusting
the revolutions of the fan. The measured wind force
is divided into three axes – X is wind direction,
Z is the upward force and Y, the lateral force
acting upon the athlete. The most important parameter is the CX value
or drag coefficient, meaning how much force
is exerted on the subject. The lower the CX value is,
the more aerodynamic and faster the athlete will be
on the ice track. Georg Hackl contributes with
his experience whenever he can. The former luge athlete won three gold
and two silver Olympic medals between
Winter Games Calgary 1988 and Salt Lake City 2002. We reproduce the data and, according to
the results we obtain, we vary
the position of the sled, which then gives us
very different results. Now you are
in the optimum position. Now, move the head up
to be able to have a view. You lie on the sled descending
at over 120km per hour, not lifting your head to be
as aerodynamic as possible. So you can barely see and have
to rely on your feelings. Now it’s possible to check this
feeling with objective data. We have worked on
my driving position. If I can implement this
in real life, then we’ve taken
a significant step forward. (GERMANY) (INGOLSTADT) 80km north, in Ingolstadt,
sailing athletes are taking advantage of this technology
to maximise performance. At this wind tunnel, air follows a tube
with four turning vanes that prevent turbulence by passing through
three screens and a nozzle, before entering
a 9.5-metre-long test section, allowing for extremely
controlled conditions. Toni Wilhelm trained before leaving for
the Olympic Games Rio 2016 where he finished fifth
in the windsurf competition. In the next few months
prior to the Olympic Games we will try to squeeze out any advantage possible
for the competition. Obtaining data while sailing in outdoor conditions
isn’t easy. That’s why the German sailing
team decided to include the wind tunnel as
part of their training. We tested one setting
for the sail concretely. It’s difficult or unusual to feel the wind
and sail in the boat, but remain dry. In addition, the wind
feels a bit sharp. The advantage
of the wind tunnel is we can focus
on individual factors, individual elements that affect
the sail or sail power, and we can turn off
others deliberately. The results clearly indicate
that in low wind conditions Philipp has to be
more sensitive with the trimming settings. If he’s able to do so
during the race, it could gain him
valuable milliseconds.