NEWPAN2D Aerofoil Design Projects: The Glasgow Wing Tower
At 100m, the Glasgow Science Centre Tower is the tallest
free-standing structure in Scotland, and the world's first tower to
rotate through 360 degrees in response to the wind. Visitors ride by
lift to a cabin at the top of the tower, affording spectacular
views. With a width to height ratio of 1:13, the tower is 60% more
slender than conventional structures.
With such a slender tower aerodynamic effects could cause strong
movements at the top which would be very uncomfortable for
visitors. Careful aerodynamic design was critical in order to
transform the aesthetically pleasing architectural design into
The tower is effectively a vertically mounted wing, which is turned into
wind to reduce its drag. The design needed to achieve a steady wake when
oriented into wind.
Hence the challenge facing Peter Heppel and architect Richard Horden Associates,
working in partnership with the project engineer Buro Happold, became clear.
They needed to design aerofoil profiles for the tower which would meet
the structural constraints whilst providing attached flow, low drag and
a small lift curve slope to minimise transverse buffeting.
Flow Solutions' NEWPAN2D aerofoil design software, and its forerunner
known as ADAP, was used to provide solutions to these requirements.
The profiles of the various components were developed using
the two-dimensional panel-method program in order to design profiles
with minimal flow separation at low incidence.