Climatic wind tunnels
Vehicle testing in its finest form
One of the total of two climatic wind tunnels is designed as a cold tunnel, with a temperature range of minus 40 to plus 40 degrees Celsius. The hot tunnel, on the other hand, offers a temperature range of minus 10 to plus 60 degrees. Each tunnel is equipped with an integrated twin-axle roller dynamometer that allows speeds of up to 265 km/h – and thus with sufficient reserves for even sports cars to be tested on the rig here.
 
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At sub-zero temperatures, it is not a problem to produce even the heaviest sort of snowstorm, in which the snowflakes fly into the test vehicles at 200 km/h
The climatic wind tunnels replace the cold tunnel, in which temperatures down to minus 20 degrees Celsius and speeds of up to 64 km/h are possible, as well as a hot tunnel in which the maximum limits are plus 40 degrees Celsius and a top speed of 100 km/h.
Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: "Even in the arctic regions of Sweden, the temperatures in winter are not always as low as we would like them to be for our test drives. Likewise, nor can we always rely on getting the extreme high summer temperatures we need for testing, even in America's infamous Death Valley. In our climatic wind tunnels we can create whatever climate conditions we want at any time of year, whenever we need them. And we can do so with very tight tolerances, so the measurements can be reproduced at any time. That's just not possible out in the open air."
As Ulrich Mellinghoff, Head of Mercedes Safety Development adds: "We don't want to use the climatic wind tunnels as a substitute for road testing, but we can now do less of it and are also far better prepared when we do go out. For example, if we have 20 different engine heat shields, we can already eliminate many of them in the climatic wind tunnel because they don't have the desired effect. We will then go on to do real-life testing with just the most promising two or three variants. We therefore spare ourselves a lot of very time-consuming road tests early on, and yet our prototypes are still at a much further advanced stage of development. And that means that we can meet our very challenging objectives much sooner."
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