Arctic cold and snowstorms in the cold tunnel
The temperature range in the cold tunnel stretches from minus 40 degrees to plus 40 degrees Celsius and thus accommodates most normal weather conditions with a generous margin. At temperatures above zero, it is possible to simulate an hourly rainfall level of up to 80 litres per square metre. 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.
One important area of focus in the cold tunnel involves the de-icing process. Here, the heating system has to de-ice the windows of a previously deep-frozen vehicle as quickly as possible. A camera meticulously records this defrosting process.
The cold tunnel is also fitted with equipment used to simulate the build-up of dirt. In this case, the vehicle is sprayed during the test with a liquid that is visible under ultra-violet light and so can be reliably used as a means of revealing potential weak spots, which show up in the automatic photographic and video records of the test.