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Uncover STEM concepts with The Cube’s new digital simulations

When we look at the world around us we see simple systems, the water ripples in the bathtub or a dog’s ears flapping as they hang out of the window of a moving car. We learn these effects as children and hardly notice them as we grow older. Behind these everyday occurrences lie an incredibly complex system of cause and effect that even today with supercomputers the size of football fields, we cannot simulate with 100% accuracy.

For the past six months, we have been carefully crafting two new simulation projects, both based on fluid simulation; Water Tank and Wind Tunnel.

Water Tank uses complex mathematical algorithms to simulate a shallow body of water, a simple glass tank of clean water. Objects float and sink convincingly, they bobble around on the surface and race to the surface if dragged under.

Water Tank at The Cube

The model used in this simulation is based on O’Brien and Hodgins virtual pipe model, a type of shallow water equation. The advantage of using this technique is the 2D surface of the water is modelled instead of the entire 3D volume which allowed us to enhance the performance of the simulation.

Water Tank at The Cube

The water simulation allows users to test the buoyancy of 12 different objects which is based around mathematics equations. How many barrels can you stack on the raft?

Wind tunnels are used to observe how an object travels through the air, from jet fighters to bicycle helmets. Traditionally, wind tunnels have powerful fans to move air through a room or tube and the object is restrained so it cannot move. The air moving around the still object demonstrates what would happen if the object was moving through the air.

Wind Tunnel at The Cube

The Cube’s Wind Tunnel is a digital representation of a wind tunnel and demonstrates how air reacts as it passes over different objects.

In the planning stages of this project, we relied on external information to generate equations required for the application. We used eight objects to highlight how wind moves around different objects. For example, you can see a laminar flow – a clean and smooth pattern versus a turbulent flow – the airflow is disturbed.

Wind Tunnel at The Cube

Have a go experimenting with the different objects like an aerofoil or plane and see for yourself how the smoke and particle effects visualise the air movement over the object.

This January, QUT’s Summer Holiday Program puts you in the driver’s seat! Not only can you make a splash in our Water Tank, get blown away by our Wind Tunnel but you can also try out a range of tech-fuelled hands-on activities for children aged 5+

Watch the video: QUT Summer Holiday Program from QUT The Cube on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed learning about aerodynamics in The Cube’s Wind Tunnel, why not book in to test pilot an unmanned aerial vehicle in our Drone coding workshop, or drop-in and make some paper planes and see how different designs affect flight in the Take to the skies activity.

Water Tank and Wind Tunnel at The Cube

Did you know simulations are used in a range of real-world applications? After you’ve tried out The Cube’s new digital simulations Wind Tunnel and Water Tank, be sure to stop by QUT’s CARRS-Q research on driver safety, a highlight of our Family Fun Day on Saturday 12 January. Get behind the wheel and try these simulations for yourself which are used to assist QUT research in the field of transport and community safety.

Sphero aqua challenge at The Cube

It’s Summer in Queensland so let’s embrace water play! Sphero aqua challenge allows you to design a swimsuit for Sphero and put your robot through its paces. The goal is to make a hydrodynamic swimsuit to help Sphero move faster in the water. What materials and modifications will make Sphero power through the water?

The Cube’s new wind and water simulations and hands-on activities will allow children to test out a whole lot of STEM concepts while having fun.

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