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Cars-Formula 1 External Aerodynamics - Fluent

Cars-Formula 1 External Aerodynamics - Fluent


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Published by: karan_puri on Mar 07, 2008
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B R I E F S EX166



Formula 1 External Aerodynamics
In this example, FLUENT 5 is used to study the flow around a model of the Red Bull Sauber C-20 Formula One (F-1) racing car in high speed, high downforce conditions. Pressure coefficients, computed at two locations on the rear wing and flap, are in very good agreement with experimental measurements. Other results are helpful in understanding the interaction between the many complex components of the car.

The flow around a model of the Red Bull Sauber C-20 Formula One (F-1) racing car (Figure 1) is studied in this example. Modern F-1 cars are capable of reaching speeds in excess of 350 km/hr. Cornering in these conditions is possible because of the large negative lift, or downforce, generated primarily by wing structures at the front and rear of the vehicle. When combined with wind tunnel tests, CFD can be used to understand the effect that these wings have on the vehicle aerodynamics. To explore the complex flow around the F-1, a half-car model of the Red Bull Sauber C-20 was simulated. An unstructured hybrid mesh was used for the turbulent, 3D, steady-state simulation. A free stream velocity of 69.44 m/s (250 km/hr) was set at the inlet boundary of the solution domain, as were turbulence quantities based on local turbulence intensity and length scale. The SpalartAllmaras turbulence model was used to facilitate closure of the Navier-Stokes equations. This one-equation turbulence model performs well in the prediction of attached and separated flows,
Copyright © 2002 Fluent Inc.

Figure 1: A model of the Red Bull Sauber C-20 Formula One racing car

typical of those in the vicinity of the front and rear wings of the car. The model is also capable of resolving the salient features of the exterior and interior flow fields. To complete the simulation of the car motion, the ground plane was given a velocity equal to the free stream velocity, and the tires were assigned a corresponding rotational speed.

Development of the CFD model began with a geometry file, created by the CAD package CATIA. ANSA was then used to create a triangular surface mesh. This mesh was imported into TGrid, where a hybrid mesh of approximately 20 million prismatic and tetrahedral elements was created. The surface mesh on the driver's helmet and cockpit area is shown in Figure 2. The lower rear mainplane (wing) mesh is shown in gray in Figure 3. In this figure, a planar surface with a quadrilateral mesh, used to generate layers of prismatic elements, is shown in red. Pressure contours on the surface of the car in Figure 4 show high pressure regions (red) at the upper surfaces of the front and rear

Figure 2: The surface mesh in the cockpit area

Figure 3: The surface mesh in the rear wing area, showing a planar surface of quadrilateral faces, used to create prism layers

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Figure 5: Path lines around the vehicle

Figure 4: Contours of static pressure on the surface components

wings, indicative of the strong downforce generated by these components. Low pressure regions (green) indicate areas where the air velocity is highest. Path lines around the car body are shown in Figure 5. Of interest is the interaction between the front wing and wheels. The degree of upwash generated by the front wing is also important. The upwash can have a deleterious effect on the cooling system and can compromise the aerodynamic behavior of some components immediately downstream of the wing. At the rear of the car, a strong upward motion of air is in evidence, along with a pair of large, counter-rotating vortices. These effects are the result of the downforce produced by the car underbody and rear wing, respectively. The upper rear wing of the vehicle consists of two components: the mainplane wing, and a flap. These are designed to generate a strong downforce at high speeds. To illustrate the
Copyright © 2002 Fluent Inc.

effectiveness of these components, the pressure coefficient, C p, is plotted against the normalized chordwise position, x/c in Figures 6 and 7. In both cases, the FLUENT predictions are compared to wind tunnel test data. In Figure 6, the results correspond to a position that is 100 m to the side of the vehicle centerline. There is very good agreement between the predicted pressures and the experimental measurements for both the mainplane and flap. In Figure 7, Cp is again plotted against the normalized chordwise position, only the results correspond to a position that is 400 mm from the vehicle centerline. Experimental measurements are again in good agreement with FLUENT predictions. The small differences that do exist can be attributed to differences in the free stream conditions used in the experiment and simulation, possible localized regions of

laminar flow in the experiment (that are not in the CFD model), and the presence of the main wind tunnel strut which is absent from the geometry used in the numerical solution. In addition, the difference between the results in Figures 6 and 7 suggest that 2D simulations of wing components will fail to adequately capture the full threedimensional nature of the flow. The results presented in this example demonstrate that it is possible to use CFD to analyze the complex flow field about a realistic contemporary Formula One car model. The pressure distribution and surface flow visualization compare well with experimental results, showing that there is significant merit in using a one-equation turbulence model for this type of application, despite the anisotropic nature of the highly turbulent, separated flow. The results derived from the numerical solutions have complemented the experimental program at Sauber Petronas Engineering AG, allowing for a more rigorous approach to finding improvements in car performance.
Courtesy of Sauber Petronas Engineering AG, Hinwil, Switzerland

Figure 6: Pressure coefficient 100 mm from the centerline of the rear wing mainplane and flap

Figure 7: Pressure coefficient 400 mm from the centerline of the rear wing mainplane and flap

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