When you think of a wind tunnel, you probably imagine some huge facility with giant fans, in a purpose-built underground bunker. They're not exactly mobile creations -- until now. To add a bit of flexibility to the idea of the wind tunnel, Ford has built a mobile version out of shipping containers. And it totally blew it. (Sorry.)
According to Ford, building a full wind tunnel can cost about $50 million. Ford's managed to spend considerably less money on two shipping containers, two 6-foot-diameter fans, acoustic baffling and other components. A third container holds an office and controls. It can be installed in about 6 hours, from when the trucks arrive to when the air starts blowing.
This new mobile wind tunnel will be used to test interior wind noise, rather than aerodynamics, on a variety of vehicles. Not all vehicles are developed in the same place, and shipping vehicles to and fro can be a pain, so this setup will travel the country whenever it's needed. While you might think it's noisy, it's not -- 6 feet away from the container, the sound registers at 75 decibels, or about the same as chamber music in a small auditorium.
Between all the blowing and the fact that the shipping containers are blue, this seems almost too ready for the litany of jokes that will undoubtedly accompany this press release across the Internet.