Federal Aviation Administration - Newark Project

By Jason Baker and Maxwell Gorlich

United States
Created on 2020.06.25 79 views
Preface:   The foundations of this project originated a few years ago.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) came to Marmion’s Computational Prototyping And Research Center (CPARC)  with an airflow analysis project for O'Hare Internatoinal Airports air traffic control tower (ATC).   CPARC modeled and simulated the ATC. It became apparent to the FAA that towers of similar structure and design to O’Hare are frequently featured across the United States that would also provide valuable information through the use of airflow analysis.  We chose Newark as the center of our project. The problem resided through our simulations are how the vortices, generated by the tower, were behaving with lingering jet exhaust.  Vorticity is a pseudovector field that describes the local spinning motion of a continuum near some point.  This spinning motion pulls the jet exhaust, which due to its density settles near the ground, up to the air vents of the ATC.       Setup:    The models that were used throughout the project were created using Solidworks 2020.  Another program necessary in creating the models was Google Earth Pro.  Measurements would be taken using features within Google Earth which allowed for the extremely accurate representation of the ATC and surrounding buildings.  The model was then converted to a .stl file and imported into xFlow. Once in xFlow, the model was set in a simulated wind tunnel at different speeds and directions.   Testing:   Our first set task, after the creation of the model, was to determine which direction created the densest vortices.  It was also important to determine the range of wind speeds that caused these vortices.     Upon testing every cardinal direction - North, East, South, and West - a determination was made that a Westward wind posed the greatest threat to the controllers.  The intercardinal directions were also tested to ensure this finding.  Seeing negligible differences in both Northwest and Southwest, we decided to stick with a Westward wind so as to reduce the simulation complexity.     Multiple wind speeds were then tested and it was determined that speeds ranging from 12-18 meters per second created the densest vortices.  Naturally, 15 meters per second was the “sweet-spot”.  With the problem located and the tower rigorously simulated, it was time to develop a solution.   Problem Solving/Collar Optimization:   Living by the wise words of Thomas Jackson Lance - “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” - the collar seemed like a logical starting point.  However, there were many unknowns that could only be solved through trial, error, and simulation - specifically, distance to ground, radius, and angle.     The distance to ground and radius proved to be far easier than the latter.  As long as the collar was placed near the neck of the tower (where it begins to flare out), it performed its function.  Moving it within a 3 meter range did not have a noticeable effect on the results.  The radius was a bit more fickle.  If it was too large then the air traffic controllers would not be able to see the ground and would need excess structure to provide integrity.  If it was too small, it would decrease in effectiveness.  It was found that 8 meters, extending from the sides of the tower, found a happy medium between the two extrema.     To optimize the angle, a new tower was made in Solidworks of collars with different angles (changing 5 degrees each 20 meters).  The range of the tested angles went from 100-260 deg.  The desired angle turned out to be 155 deg (see video for visual).  At this angle, it was found that the collar would create its own high intensity vortices every second which broke up the vortices attached to the top of the tower.     Conclusion:    The optimized collar, after attached, created a noticeable difference in breaking up the malignant vortices (see video).  With all this testing, we have started to see a trend in the control towers that have a similar design to both Newark and O’Hare.  While the collar is not a “catch-all” solution, it is our hope that it can be refined and adapted to work for other towers across the United States.
Discover the team
Who’s behind this project
JB Jason Baker
Discover the solution
Software used for this project
Project Timeline
Project Timeline