Low turbulence wind tunnel for animal flight research


Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Zoology

Type of infrastructure

  • Equipment

Name of national/international infrastructure this infrastructure belongs to

Collaboration with researchers at Western University, Ontario, where a hypobaric wind tunnel is available.


Aerodynamics of animal flight can be studied by several approaches. The use of wind tunnels for animal flight experiments enables the researcher to observe the flying animal while it is flying in the test section. Furthermore, the environmental conditions can be accurately controlled and monitored. Thereby, high-speed cameras register details of the wing motions, accelerations of the body and wings are measured, and the wake vortices that contain information about the magnitude and time-history of aerodynamic forces are visualized.

The Lund wind tunnel was built in 1994. It is a low-speed low-turbulence wind tunnel which was specifically designed for studying bird flight, although nowadays we also study both bats and insects. Some of the special features of the wind tunnel are that there is an opening between the test section and the bellmouth, so the researcher can have quick and easy access to the flying animal. Also, the Lund wind tunnel can be tilted to simulate climbing and gliding flight.

Equipment and resources

Tomographic Particle Image Velocimetry (for flow visualization, including DaVis software), High speed imaging stereo imaging system. Fast response respirometer for metabolic measurements. Basic workshop with tools.

Aviaries, bat room.

Services provided

The wind tunnel is a showcase facility for visitors at Lund University, and it is also demonstrated to the public on occasions such as “Day of Biology” (Biologins dag). The wind tunnel is demonstrated at various courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Management of the infrastructure

Infrastructure has no board, it is managed by Professor Anders Hedenström, Animal Flight Lab.

Available for loan

Available for loan - internal only

Terms of access:

Training live birds/bats is a time-consuming and unpredictable process that requires continuous access to the wind tunnel. It is therefore not possible to allow admittance of external users for the simple reason that there are no technical personnel associated with the infrastructure that could administer/supervise external users.

The tunnel is fully used by the VR-financed projects run by the PI:s in the Animal Flight Lab, Department of Biology. To let the facility to external users requires personnel that can supervise usage and assist during experiments, which are not available at the wind tunnel. Therefore, when applicable, external users are recruited only through collaborative efforts with the PI:s of the Animal Flight Lab.