3D Printing

Wind Tunnels and 3D Printed Mini Stadiums?

Researchers at the College of of engineering at Quatar have been creating possible designs for the 2022 World Cup stadium and printing them in 1:300 before testing them in a wind tunnel and recording the data. This data is being used to help reduce the cost  whilst improving the environmental footprint of the finished stadium.

“We take about a week to print one stadium model,” said Dr Saud Abdul Aziz Abdu Ghani, Professor at the College of Engineering at Qatar University.

“It is a scale model and follows exactly the design of the proposed stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.  We printed the parts of the stadium separately, put them together and then put the 3D printed stadium model into a wind tunnel for aerodynamics testing.  The wind tunnel took seven months to design and build and is the first of its kind in the region,” Dr Ghani added.

Lazer beams would help capture the movement of air over the scale model, and provide information that would then be analysed by the team of researchers at the university using analytics software.  “We can see the temperature per tier, add in variants such as sweat produced and amount of spectators, and then run the simulation and see effect of temperature inside stadium,” he added. “For cooling we want a minimal amount of air to go in, and we want the air inside to stay there. We can change the direction and simulate different wind directions at this facility.”

“All of the design for the wind tunnel and everything you see here was carried out in Qatar, except the fan which is produced in Germany. We’ve tested two stadiums and a fan zone like this: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Wakrah Stadium and the fan zone for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil held at Aspire Academy in Doha. Al Thumama Stadium will also be tested and we are currently printing the stadium.”

The data being analysed will not only be of use for the World Cup stadium, but will also be used to help with the construction of stadiums across Quatar. The university has close ties with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)’s Technical Delivery Office.

“We are working closely with QU on this exciting project which showcases the innovative approach we are taking towards timely and cost-effective delivery of the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” said Yasir Al Jamal, Vice- Chairman, Technical Delivery Office, SC.

“We’ve done a lot of work with QU’s team and made aerodynamic changes to our stadiums as a result. This creates a lot of saving through value engineering. They also look at the roof structure to minimalise the amount of steel, which will reduce energy and capital costs, and reduces the effect on the environment. In effect we are minimising the effect on the environment, as well as the cost and the operational cost.”

Dr. Saud and his team are pushing for new and innovative solutions to the design challenges they face whilst designing: “We have lasers which will give you the velocity vectors, so you see on the model what will happen when you open or close the roof. All the ideas we try are sent back to the SC and the viable ones are incorporated in the design.”

“I believe this is the future of the stadium design industry. Testing used to be done on clay models, but this technology is now at the forefront of stadium design and is also being used for high-rise buildings in Qatar instead of sending them for aerodynamics testing in Canada or Germany as was previously done. You can print anything from cars to skulls for reconstructive surgery, using different materials including metal, titanium, and aluminium.”

Other design teams are following suit, as representatives for Belgium’s largest footbll stadius of the future have begun testing their own designs at the same wind tunnel.

“We are very proud to be able to share Qatari knowledge to Europe as well. In their case we were asked to do testing on wind-driven rain. In Qatar we need to keep the cold in the stadiums, but in Belgium the challenge was to keep the rain out.”

“We had to look at different types of rain and see how spectators would be able to remain dry at all times including the wind factor,” said Dr Saud.

“I am glad that I started working with the SC, because they are really looking for legacy on their projects and this wind tunnel is already helping to leave one for stadium design of the future across the world.”