The U.S. military needs to be prepared to work on little notice in climates all over the world. And large quantities of weapons, generators, computers and other equipment being sent into a battle zone need to able to withstand the environment.
That's why the U.S. Army commissioned Air Dynamics
, based in York, to develop a new simulator that could approximate real-life conditions in areas where sand and dust blow through the air. The company recently finished its latest version of this simulator, named Desert Wind. Plans call for it to be deployed to an Army arsenal
Dan Lehman, president of Air Dynamics, says current simulators use sensors in the actual chambers where sand and dust blow. That means the results of tests run in these machines gradually decline in accuracy – comparable to driving through a rainstorm without running wiper blades, he says. The newest Desert Wind simulator, however, does not have any sensors in the test chamber. Sensors that update every 10 seconds measure how much sand or dust is in the chamber at any given time. As a result, its findings are a near-perfect approximation to actual desert conditions.
Lehman says the simulator will be useful even as U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan winds down. "There's about 90 deserts around the world," he says. "Even in the U.S., the military operates in arid conditions."
He adds that Desert Wind could be used for non-military applications, like assessing how well cars, solar panels, wind turbines and cell phone towers survive in deserts.
Source: Dan Lehman, Air Dynamics
Writer: Rebecca VanderMeulen