Honda HALO Wind Tunnel Opens in Ohio

Honda today opened its new $124 million state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility, ushering in a new era of development testing capabilities for Honda and Acura products, as well as the company’s race vehicles. The new Honda Automotive Laboratories of Ohio (HALO) facility, located at the independent Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) in Central Ohio, is the world’s most advanced wind tunnel, with three separate state-of-the art testing functions — aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, and racing — in one location.

Honda created the multifunctional HALO facility to reinforce its commitment to developing fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive vehicles. One of the most advanced of its kind anywhere, the wind tunnel uses a unique interchangeable modular ground plane system capable of aerodynamic vehicle testing of production vehicles and race machines.

With a five-belt rolling road system designed for production vehicle development and a second single wide-belt system for testing both high-performance sports cars and purpose-built race vehicles, the tunnel can generate wind speeds of more than 190 miles per hour.

Even more, the wind tunnel can quickly enable a sophisticated acoustic test system for an aeroacoustic testing mode that utilizes a powerful system of acoustic arrays, made up of microphones and cameras, able to collect real-time data and precision measurement. This becomes even more important as an element of vehicle design as Honda moves toward its electrified future.

As Honda continues to move toward its electrified future, noise reduction becomes an even more important element in vehicle design. Absent engine and exhaust sounds, wind noise will be more noticeable inside the cabin of an electric vehicle. Using the acoustic test system, Honda engineers will be able to identify the precise locations of both interior and exterior noise issues more quickly than ever before.

“Honda’s product development capabilities will advance to new heights thanks to this investment in our Ohio research operations,” said Jim Keller, executive vice president of Honda Development & Manufacturing of America, LLC (HDMA), and leader of the company’s North American Auto Development Center. “With this new facility, Honda is not simply investing in an advanced technology facility but in the future of the Honda engineers and other researchers who will work here.”

The new wind tunnel, coupled with the company’s advanced safety research center, provides Honda’s R&D engineers with two world-class facilities in Ohio; both supporting the design and development of products built in America using domestic and globally sourced parts. This also is an opportunity for Honda engineers to build relationships with other companies interested in aerodynamic and aeroacoustic research, support STEM activities, and sustain the general aerodynamic community’s testing needs.

Additionally, the wind tunnel’s aerodynamic test capabilities will help increase the range and performance of the company’s future full-electric vehicles, supporting Honda’s efforts to continually advance its current position as America’s most fuel efficient and lowest CO2 full-line automaker.

The HALO wind tunnel is Honda’s latest major investment in Ohio, where the company has been advancing its ability to develop and build products for over 40 years – now totaling $14 billion.

Wind Tunnel Fact Sheet

Investment $124 million
Facility size • 110,000 square feet
• 1/8-mile wind tunnel circuit
3/4 Open Test Section • 3 meters x 5 meters x 15 meters
Test Capabilities • Aerodynamic
• Aeroacoustic
• Motorsports/Racing
Less than one hour to change to acoustic mode
Variable Nozzle Area • 25 square meters = 250 kph (155 mph)
• 18 square meters = 310 kph (192 mph)
Heat exchanger temperature range • 10-50 degrees Celsius
(50-122 degrees Fahrenheit)
Maintaining constant temperature
Fan Specifications • Diameter: 8 meters
• Blades: 12 hollow carbon fiber fixed-pitch blades
• Max rpm ≈ 250 rpm at max air speed 310 kph
• Electric motor: 5-megawatt, 6700 HP
Max Wind Speed • 192.63 mph (310 kph)
Acoustic Test System • Acoustic environment: ˂ 57 dBA @140 kph (87 mph)
• Series of acoustic arrays: top, front, sides, and interior
• 502 external directional microphones and cameras
• 54 internal microphones (inside cabin for sound source
detection)
Turntable • Diameter: 12 meters
• 180-degree rotation
(Most wind tunnels rotate only + / – 15 degrees)
Modular ground plane system

• Two 40-ton belt modules

  • 5-belt: one belt under each vehicle tire and one larger belt under vehicle center
  • Wide belt: one large belt under vehicle
    • Max speed of 310 kph (193 mph)
  • Acoustic cover

• Module changeover takes approx. 4 hours

Balance (scale):
Measures Aerodynamic Load

• 3-Axis Load Cell in Tower
• Drag Force Sensitivity = +/- 2.5 Newtons (2.5 N) (about the
weight of one standard D battery)

Traverse System
Diagnostic Robotic Arm

• Weight: 80 tons (160,000 lbs.)
• Dimensions: 45 feet long x 16 feet tall x 8 feet wide
• Stopping Position Accuracy = +/- 0.5mm
• Moving Path Accuracy = 1.0 mm
• Max Deflection Under Max Load = < 1.0 mm

Third-party Customer Workspace • Four secure customer bays

 

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