Student project: Ski jumping tests in the wind tunnel

Students of the bachelor program Human Factors & Sports Engineering conducted test measurements in a wind tunnel with junior athletes of the Nordic Combiners.

Normally, trains and streetcars are exposed to wind and cold on a test basis in the climatic wind tunnel in the 21st district. Recently, five students of the UAS Technikum Wien were able to use the wind tunnel for test measurements for a group project and had junior ski jumpers fly in an artificially generated headwind.

Johannes Horvath, Lorenz Pühringer, Mathias Stromberger, Daniel Hosp, and Bernd Hintersteiner are currently completing the fifth semester of the bachelor's program in Human Factors & Sports Engineering. Based on a self-selected topic, they were to implement an application project on the topic of measurement technology. The knowledge for the practical application of different measurement systems was imparted to the students in the previous semesters of the program and tested in the context of courses and laboratory exercises in the various motion analysis laboratories of the FH Technikum Wien. One of the students, Daniel Hosp, used to be a Nordic Combiner himself, so the group came up with the idea for a measurement series with ski jumpers*. "I knew that the ÖSV always carries out tests in the wind tunnel in the fall. We then asked if we could use that for our project," says Hosp, who is also the coordinator for the Cup series at the Austrian Ski Association.

The ÖSV agreed and so the students were recently able to carry out the measurements for their project in the wind tunnel with a group of young athletes from the Nordic Combiner's C squad. The students were interested in the pressure distribution on the sole in the shoe during the jump. Because the foot position varies somewhat depending on the jumping style, the students collected data for different flight styles and had the young athletes fly in the "V", "H" and "A" style in the wind tunnel. Daniel Hosp also jumped in as a test subject. "In the wind tunnel, the air flows from the front instead of from below like in a real jump. You jump a little differently this way. Nevertheless, it's interesting for training because you can practice posture or try out other things, for example," he explains.

"We wanted to use the measurements to investigate which areas of the sole of the foot are loaded during the different jumping styles," adds student Johannes Horvath, who is also involved in the project. "We were able to confirm our assumption that the heel is pressureless and that the greatest pressure is applied to the forefoot. The athletes use this area to control their skiing during flight."

The next step is for the project group to evaluate the detailed results. Ultimately, the students hope to be able to derive helpful insights for the athletes' training from the collected data.