Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Spicer, Tom O


The study of dense gas dispersion at atmospheric conditions is critical to understand the safety concerns of industrial operations where large amounts of toxic or flammable materials are stored and generated. A large airborne release of these materials into the atmosphere could have catastrophic effects. The Chemical Hazards Research Center (CHRC) at the University of Arkansas performs important research on dense gas dispersion. The CHRC houses the world’s largest ultra-low speed wind tunnel, which is used to simulate dispersion at atmospheric conditions. Substantial amounts of data, including velocities, are recorded for modeling real life gas dispersion events. Before conducting experiments, an accurate characterization of air flow within the wind tunnel, especially at the lower boundary layer, must be established. The goal of this project was to upgrade the existing two-component LDV system to a three-component system and use the system to characterize the vertical velocity profile of the wind tunnel. The major phases of the project included the physical installation of the LDV system, alignment of the laser probes within the tunnel, and characterization velocity measurements. Once the system was properly installed, the vertical velocity profile of the wind tunnel was determined as part of the characterization process. The air velocity decreased for measurements closer to the wind tunnel floor, which agreed with the previous experimental data from the CHRC’s wind tunnel and other ultra-low speed wind tunnels.