How Do You Make Artificial Wind?

Artificial wind is wind that is man-made or produced mechanically rather than naturally occurring. It has a variety of uses and applications across many different industries and settings.

Artificial wind can be used for cooling and ventilation, drying processes, fire suppression, weather simulation and testing, and entertainment. Some common examples include:

  • Fans for cooling and airflow in homes, offices, factories, etc.
  • Wind tunnels for aerodynamic testing in the aerospace industry
  • Air cannons and misting fans at theme parks or outdoor events
  • Blowers and fans for drying freshly painted surfaces in auto body shops
  • Industrial blowers to move materials through hoppers and conveyors

There are several different types of machines and devices used to generate artificial wind. These include axial and centrifugal fans, wind tunnels, air cannons, industrial blowers, firefighting fans, and misting fans. Each has its own method for mechanically creating directed air movement to produce artificial wind.


Fans are a common household appliance that can be used to generate artificial wind. By spinning their blades, fans produce airflow that mimics the feel of natural wind. There are several types of fans that differ in size and capacity:

Household Fans

Household fans are designed for residential use and come in sizes ranging from small desktop fans to large ceiling fans. These fans have multiple speed settings and adjustable heads to control the direction and intensity of airflow. Portable household fans are very affordable and convenient for cooling down rooms.

Industrial Fans

Industrial fans are much larger and more powerful than household fans. They move huge volumes of air for ventilation and exhaust purposes in factories, warehouses, and other commercial buildings. Industrial fans have large blade spans and sturdy construction to withstand continuous operation. Some common types are circulating fans, exhaust fans and air handling units.

Turbine Fans

Turbine fans are a specialized type of industrial fan designed to produce high velocity, directed airflow. They contain an array of small blades enclosed in a casing that accelerates the speed of air as it passes through. The high-velocity air jet from a turbine fan can reach extended distances for ventilation purposes. They are commonly used for large industrial facilities.

Wind Tunnels

a large wind tunnel used for aerospace testing, with a scale model aircraft mounted inside a chamber as fans blow high-speed air over it.
One of the most effective ways to generate powerful artificial wind is through the use of a wind tunnel. Wind tunnels are long chambers that use large fans to produce controlled, artificial airflow. They have a variety of applications:

Aerospace/Aviation Testing: Aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers use large wind tunnels to test how scale models of their designs perform under wind loading. This allows them to refine aerodynamic qualities before full-scale production.

Weather Simulation: Meteorologists use specialized wind tunnels to simulate weather phenomena like tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms in a controlled setting. This provides valuable data on how structures and landscapes interact with extreme winds.

Skydiving: Indoor skydiving facilities use vertical wind tunnels to simulate the experience of free-falling from thousands of feet for recreation and training. Skydivers can practice techniques in a wind tunnel before performing them mid-air.

Physics Experiments: Schools often have small wind tunnels for physics education. Students can examine airflow patterns around various objects to better understand aerodynamics principles.

Air Cannons

Air cannons are a creative way to make artificial wind. They use compressed air to generate powerful gusts of wind.

Air cannons have several uses:

Sports Training Equipment

In sports like football and soccer, air cannons can be used to simulate stiff winds during practice. By training in windy conditions, athletes learn how to adjust their throws and kicks.

Industrial Cleaning

Powerful air blasts from cannons can dislodge dust and debris in factories or other industrial settings. The gusts can reach areas that are difficult to access for manual cleaning.

Special Effects

Air cannons create dramatic blasts of wind on movie sets and theatrical stages. They provide a safe yet realistic way to mimic powerful storm effects.

Industrial Blowers

Industrial blowers are powerful fans that generate high-volume airstreams and air pressures for industrial applications. They have a wide range of uses, including:

Cooling fans – Large cooling fans circulate air through factories, plants, and other facilities to regulate temperature and ventilate interior spaces. Axial flow fans with diameters up to 40 feet are commonly used. The fans maintain air quality and prevent overheating of equipment and spaces.

Pneumatic conveying systems – Blowers transfer bulk materials like powders, pellets, and granules through enclosed pipes using high-velocity air. This allows efficient transportation without contamination. Rotary airlock feeders introduce materials into the airstream. The blower maintains the required air volume and pressure for pneumatic conveying.

Combustion air systems – Blowers supply forced draft air to burners and boilers to improve combustion efficiency. The high-pressure air atomizes the fuel and provides oxygen for optimal burning. This increases boiler capacity, allows lower-grade fuels, and reduces emissions.

Industrial blowers have power ratings from 10 to over 25,000 horsepower depending on the airflow and pressure requirements. Multi-stage centrifugal turboblowers are often used for higher pressures. The blowers are precisely engineered for each application.

Firefighting Fans

Firefighting fans are powerful ventilation tools used by firefighters to control airflow and smoke during building fires. Large, truck-mounted fans are positioned at main entrances, windows or other openings to blow air into the structure. This serves several key purposes:

Smoke Removal – Firefighting fans help push heat, gases and smoke out of a burning building. This improves visibility for firefighters and reduces toxic exposure. Fans help remove combustion products generated by the fire.

Ventilation – Blowing air into a structure feeds the fire with oxygen while also limiting oxygen elsewhere. This allows firefighters to control the fire’s growth and spread. It also reduces extreme heat buildup that can lead to flashover.

Preventing Backdraft – In a poorly ventilated fire, heated gases can build up and explode once oxygen suddenly rushes in. Strategic ventilation with fans helps prevent this dangerous backdraft phenomenon.

Portable fans range in size up to 36 inches or more and can push over 18,000 cubic feet per minute of air. They allow precise air control over different parts of a fire scene. Fans are invaluable fireground tools to manage interior conditions and support search, rescue and suppression operations.

Misting Fans

Misting fans are a great way to create artificial wind for outdoor cooling or humidity control in greenhouses. They work by combining a standard fan with a misting system that sprays a fine mist of water droplets.

The mist helps lower air temperature through evaporative cooling. As the mist evaporates, it absorbs heat from the surrounding air, cooling it down. This makes misting fans perfect for outdoor patios, pools, or any hot area. The wind from the fan spreads the cool mist over a larger area for maximum cooling.

In greenhouses, misting fans help raise humidity levels. The evaporating mist increases relative humidity, creating an ideal humid environment for growing plants. The fans circulate air and ensure the moisture reaches all parts of the greenhouse. Growers often use misting fans for propagation benches, orchids, and tropical plants that require high humidity.

Misting fans come in pedestal, hanging, and oscillating styles to suit different setups. They typically have mist nozzles attached above the fan blades that spray a wide mist on each rotation. The misting can be turned on or off as needed to control cooling and humidity effects.

Making Your Own

You can create artificial wind on a small scale at home or in the classroom using common household materials. This allows you to conduct physics experiments or build miniature models that require wind.

For a simple homemade wind machine, attach a small DC motor to a cardboard box. Cut a hole in one side of the box and glue plastic straws around the hole so they stick out like a funnel. Place the motor inside the box facing the funnel. When you turn on the motor, its spinning motion will push air out through the straws to create a blast of wind.

Use household supplies like paper cups, cardboard, straws, string, thumbtacks, and mini battery-powered fans to build a windmill model. Poke holes in the cups and attach them to poles connected to a small DC motor. The spinning motion will propel air through the cups to mimic the wind-generating effect.

For a bigger gust, tear open a small paper gift bag and attach it around a small fan or hair dryer using tape. Turn them on and point the opening of the bag in the desired direction to shoot a stream of fast moving air.

Use these types of homemade wind generators to study the effects of wind on objects like paper pinwheels, wind socks, sail boats, and small wind turbines. Observe how changing the wind speed impacts their motion.


The cost of creating artificial wind can vary greatly depending on the type of system used and the size of the area you need to cover. Here are some factors to consider when budgeting for an artificial wind system:

Purchasing Different Systems

– Fans are relatively inexpensive, ranging from $50 for a basic fan to several hundred dollars for large industrial fans. Misting fans specifically tend to cost $100-500.

– Wind tunnels can be very expensive, with small hobbyist tunnels starting around $1,000 but large professional grade tunnels costing millions of dollars.

– Air cannons are moderately priced, typically $300-1,000 for portable consumer models.

– Industrial blowers capable of generating high powered airflow over a large area can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

– Firefighting fans run from $3,000 for portable models up to $75,000 for vehicle-mounted systems.

Operating Costs

– Electrical costs will vary based on the type and size of system, but operating high-powered fans or blowers can use a substantial amount of energy over time.

– Compressed air cannons require purchasing compressed air tanks and regular refilling.

– Larger systems like wind tunnels may require dedicated staff to operate and monitor.


– Fan motors and parts degrade over time and need occasional repair/replacement.

– Keeping air filters on fans and blowers clean is important.

– Wind tunnels require meticulous upkeep of fans, ducting and airflow components.

– Compressed air tanks on cannons need regular inspection and certification.

Taking all operating and maintenance costs into account, the total cost of ownership over time can be significant for artificial wind systems.


In summary, there are a variety of methods for creating artificial wind, ranging from simple household fans to large industrial blowers and wind tunnels used for testing. Key takeaways include:

– Fans and blowers move air to generate wind, while wind tunnels focus and channel natural wind.

– Applications range from cooling people, drying objects, experimentation to firefighting and weather simulation.

– Wind generation requires owning or renting specialty equipment, or innovating your own DIY solutions.

– Costs vary from cheap homemade setups to million-dollar wind tunnels and fans.

Looking ahead, we may see expanded uses for artificial wind to offset climate change effects, improve wind energy systems, or enhance virtual reality experiences. As technology advances, artificial wind generation will likely become more efficient, powerful and customizable.

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