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Exterior Styling of an Intercity Bus for Improved Aerodynamics

Exterior Styling of an Intercity Bus for Improved Aerodynamics

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paper on bus styling and aerodynamics
paper on bus styling and aerodynamics

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Published by: arunrave on Jul 22, 2009
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10/28/2011

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MSc (Engg) in APD 1 FT07
Exterior Styling of an Intercity Transport Bus forImproved Aerodynamic Performance
Arun Raveendran
1
, D. Rakesh
2
, S.N. Sridhara
3
1- (Engg) student, 2-Senior lecturer, 3-Professor and HOD,Automotive Engineering CentreM.S.Ramaiah School of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
 
 Abstract 
 Intercity buses travel about 250 to 350 km in a stretch and usually are of sleeper coach mode. The exterior styling, sleeper comfort and aerodynamically efficient design for reduced fuel consumption are the three essential factors for a successful operation in the competitive world. The bus body building companies prioritizes the exterior looks of the bus and ignore the aerodynamic aspect. Scientific design of sleepers for increased comfort of the passengers is seldom seen. Theoverall aim of this project was to redesign an intercity bus with enhanced exterior styling, reduced aerodynamic drag and increased comfort for the passengers. Extensive product study and market study were carried out and aspirations and frustrations of commuters wererecorded. An operating intercity bus was benchmarked and analyzed for styling, aerodynamic performance and comfort. Fluent, a commercial CFD code was used to evaluate the aerodynamic performance. Principles of product design were used to analyse the styling and comfort. The benchmarked high floor bus was redesigned with low - floor for reduced aerodynamicdrag. The exterior was redesigned with emphasis on improvised aerodynamic performance and appealing looks. The interior was modified to meet aspirations of the commuters.The results of the redesigned exterior body showed a reduction of C 
from 0.53 to 0.29 and overall aerodynamicdrag reduction by 60% due to combined effect of reduced C 
and frontal area. The redesigned interior was found to be at the satisfaction of commuters.
Key Words:
 Bus Aerodynamics, Drag Reduction, Low Floor Bus Design, Sleeper Coach
Nomenclature
A Frontal projected area (m
2
)Cd Coefficient of dragI Turbulent intensity (m)k Turbulent kinetic energy (m
2
/s
2
)
ρ
Density of air (kg/m
3
)
ε
Dissipation rate (m
2
/s
3
)µ Dynamic viscosity (Ns/m
2
)
Abbreviations
CFD Computational fluid dynamicsCAD Computer aided designPDS Product design specificationQFD Quality function deployment
1. INTRODUCTION
Buses are used as means for transporting large amountof people from one place to other. All the states governmentsare having its own intercity bus fleet in India which providesmobility for the people at a reasonable cost. Huge numbersof private bus firms are also in operation and are efficient inreducing the dependency on trains. Indian road conditionsare significantly improved for the past 10 years and intercity bus travel time is reduced as they can travel with highspeeds. In order to keep a low operating cost these buseshave to deliver high efficiency at these speeds. Rising fuel prices and stringent government regulations force the vehiclemanufactures and operators to produce and operate fuelefficient buses. The power generated in the engine is mainlyused to overcome the rolling resistance, aerodynamic dragand climbing resistance. Out of these three componentsaerodynamic drag increases with respect to the vehiclespeed. At high speeds at about 100 Km/hr the drag forceexceeds the power spend on overcoming the rollingresistance [1]. So reducing the aerodynamic drag is of primeimportance to achieve fuel efficiency. Vehicle aerodynamicsdeals with the study of forces acting on a vehicle body whenit moves through air [2].Drag and lift are the two main phenomena observed on the vehicle body due to the effect of the wind. About 90% of drag is due to the pressuredifference created between the various areas of the vehicle[2].
1.1
 
Styling and aerodynamics
Drag force acting on the vehicle depends onfrontal projected area and the coefficient of drag value of thevehicle. Any reduction in these values will directly reducedrag force experienced by the vehicle. Frontal projected areaof the intercity bus is decided by the interior packaging of the bus. Coefficient of drag value is determined by the shapeof the vehicle. These two factors influence the exterior styling of the vehicle. Exterior styling of the vehicle isimportant due to the fact that the vehicle has to attractcustomers. The vehicle should project its performance andcomfort capabilities through its exterior design. Findingharmony with the aerodynamic requirements and customer oriented styling will lead to a successful vehicle with lowfuel consumption.
 
MSc (Engg) in APD 2 FT07
This research is aimed to deliver an aerodynamicallyimproved bus design with user oriented exterior styling. The popular Volvo 9400 bus was evaluated for its aerodynamic performance and guidelines for better aerodynamics werecollected from literature survey. Based on these guidelinesand user study concepts were generated. The model wasanalyzed using fluent and improvements in drag values were predicted.
1.2
 
Literature study
Edwin J Saltzman and Robert R Meyer [3] carried outstudies on reducing the drag of trucks and buses. The finalmodel equipped with rounded horizontal and verticalcorners, smoothed under body and a boat tail achieved Cdvalue of 0.242. Ludovico Consano and Davide Lucarelli [4]at IVECO truck building company came up with anaerodynamically efficient truck. They paid particular attention on the corner surfaces of the vehicle. A higher andsmoother roof has been designed with DAM fully integratedinto the frontal bumper. Moreover the lateral lowered sideskirts have been added to mask the tanks, rear wheels andaxles. To prevent flow detachment, many rounded surfaceshave been added to the exposed surfaces, such as the roof window, side mirrors, sun visor, etc. The test resultsrevealed a fuel reduction of 8%. R. Mc Callen, K. Salari, J.et al [5] in their experiments found out removal of rear viewmirror alone will bring down the drag of the vehicle by4.5%. Any gap in the vehicle body will result in flowseparation and flow circulation. A Gilhaus [6] investigationreveled a reduction in drag value until the front leading edgeradii value reaches 150 mm. Further increase in the radiusdid not affect the drag value of the bus. C W Carr [7]investigated the effects of streamlining the front end of therectangular bodies in ground proximity. Experiments showna stream lined front end with low leading edge resulted in adrag coefficient of 0.21. W H huco and H J Emmelmann [8]found that detailed shape optimisation of parts such as roof radii, rain channels, headlights will result in reduction of drag force. W T mason and P S Beebe [1] carried outexperiments using horizontal and vertical splitter panelsextending from vehicle body at the rear end, vanes and nonventilated cavities close to vehicle bodies. Splitter panelshad no affect on the drag value and the vane arrangementincreased the drag. The addition of non ventilated cavitiesreduced the drag coefficient by 5%.
2. Product Survey
Under AIS-052 code of practice for bus body designand approval, present intercity buses comes under type 3 and4. These are designed and constructed for long distance passenger transport, exclusively designed for comfort of seated passengers and not intended for carrying standing passengers. Type 4 buses are special purpose busesexclusively sleeper coaches which are getting popularized inthese days. Intercity buses are classified according to theoccupancy level as medium capacity buses as it can carry 35to 50 passengers. Intercity buses are again classifiedaccording to the comfort level as non deluxe bus (NDX),semi deluxe bus (SDX), deluxe bus (DLX) and A/C deluxe bus (ACX).
 
 Non Deluxe Bus is designed for basic minimumcomfort level. Semi Deluxe Bus is designed for a slightlyhigher comfort level and with provision for ergonomicallydesigned seats. Deluxe Bus is designed for a high comfortlevel and individual seats and adjustable seat backs,improved ventilation and pleasing interiors. A.C. DeluxeBus is Deluxe Bus which is air conditioned. The presentintercity buses operate in India mainly comes under thedeluxe and A/C deluxe class.The main parts which defines the exterior styling of anintercity bus are the windshield, grill, front bumper,headlights, indicators, wipers, side windows, passenger doors, driver door, luggage space, engine space, back windshield, number plate, brake light, back indicator, back  bumper and radiator grill. Interior of the bus consists of 
driver’s cabin and passenger compartment. The driver’s
cabin consists of seating for the driver, his assistant, dash board and steering. The passenger compartment consists of rows of seats or beads according to the type of bus. All theintercity buses are high floor buses with a floor height of 1200 mm from the road. Luggage space is provided under the floor with opening from both the side of the bus. Four steps are provided for boarding the bus. In most of the present bus design the passenger door is located at the frontside corner of the bus.Manufacturing of intercity buses are carried out in twostages. The OEM manufactures drive away chassis of the bus which include the engine, transmission and chassis of the vehicle. The bodies of the buses are manufactured by body building companies. In order to regulate the design of the bus coaches, Indian Ministry of Shipping, RoadTransport & Highways introduced the standard AIS-052which was published in September 2001. The major ruleswhich are to be considered while designing an intercity busare listed belowParameters RegulationsWidth of the bus Shall not exceed 2.6 mLength of the bus Maximum 12 meters for transportvehicle with rigid frame havingtwo or more axles,Gangway Minimum of 1800 mm height and300 mm wideService doors Minimum 1Width of door Minimum 650 mmHeight of service door Minimum 1650 mmWidth of windows Minimum 550 mm (sliding typeexcept for ACX)Emergency exit 2 numbers ( 1 at front half opposite to service door next oneat rear with area not less than4000 cm
2
)Height of first step 425 mm maximumHeight of secondsteps350 mm maximumIntrusion above seat 100 mm at height 1350 fromfloor Wheel arch intrusion 200 mm from the seat front
Table 1 bus regulations as per AIS - 052
 
MSc (Engg) in APD 3 FT07
2.1Bus aerodynamics
Drag force acting on the bus body is given by theformula
Drag force = ½ ρv
2
A Cd (1)It is evident that the drag force acting on the vehicledepends on the density of the air, velocity of the vehicle,frontal projected area and the coefficient of drag value of thevehicle. Reduction in air density or the vehicle speed is not aviable solution for reducing the drag value of the bus.Reducing the frontal projected area is a viable solution as itwill directly reduce the drag significantly.It is found in the product study a huge number of lowfloor buses were operating in the urban areas for transporting people. These buses are having a low deck with a height of 350 mm or less compared to the 1200 mm of high floor  buses as shown in fig1. Low floor buses are having kneelingmechanisms which can further reduce the overall height.These buses are having interior height of more than 1800over 60 % of its inner space. By incorporating the low floor  bus chassis in intercity bus design will reduce present busheight. A low floor intercity bus design will have low projected area which in terms results in reduction in dragforce. Interaction with the bus manufacturers revealed thatthe Coach manufactures were hesitating to use a low floor chassis due to the following reasons listed below. A lowfloor bus design which overcomes the below listeddifficulties will reduce the bus height from 3400 mm to 2600mm.
 
Luggage space reduction
 
Large wheel arches reduces the number seats
 
Divides the floor area in to two decks
 
Less space for fuel tanks leads to low capacity
 
Difficult to reach the engine compartment for repairs
 
Psychologically people like t sit at high floor thanthe low floor area
Figure 1 Types of bus chassis3. User study (Gemba study)
User study was conducted to select the target customer group, understand user frustrations and aspirations. A surveywas conducted among the users. Users want a comfortablespeedy commute which is reasonably priced and looks good.It was found that intercity bus users consist of mainly professionals working in other cities (45%) and students(34%). Business trips contribute to 16% of the seatoccupancy. 93% people prefer to travel in night compared to7% day travelers.72% prefer to sleep while only 26% peoplelike do other activities. If money is not a constrain, 82% people like to travel in sleeper coaches and rest preferred ACdeluxe buses. Most of the people adopted bus travel over train due to the easy availability and comfort of the bus.Safety, speed and flexible pick up and drop points are alsoinfluence the decision. Maximum seat occupancy wasobserved on Fridays and Saturdays. Occupancy levels of sleeper coaches and AC deluxe coaches were high comparedto deluxe and semi deluxe coaches for buses staring fromBangalore. People prefer to occupy the front rows seats thanthe rear. More than 80% of private intercity buses areoperating at night between 7 pm and morning 10 am.It was evident from the study that the majority of intercity bus users comes under the age group of 18 to 35and consists of middle class professionals and students. Itwas also found that people prefer sleeper coaches over semisleeper (reclining seat) coaches. The target customer groupwas finalized as 18 to 35 and the coach arrangement wasselected as sleeper coach. The major user frustrationsgathered from the user survey are listed below
 
Old aged and disabled persons find it difficult to board the bus due to high step height.
 
Difficult to sleep in the present adjustable seats asit will not allow any body movement.
 
Results in body pain and neck pain after longtravel.
 
Outside lights often disturb the sleep.
 
Less leg room in semi deluxe and deluxe buses.
 
Lack of toilets results in journey brakes and user discomfort.
 
Platforms at the bus stations are not able to reducethe boarding height due to current door position.
Figure 2 QFD matrix

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