Vehicle Aerodynamics




The Metropole Hotel NEe, Birmingham, UK

Day 2 - Wednesday 16 October 1996
9.00-9.30am 9.30-11.00am Coffee Session 5 Ground Simulation Techniques Chairman - R Hill (Lotus Engineering) from Calibration and Customer Tests

- Moving Ground Simulation in the SF Wind Tunnel-Experience Dr J Wildi - Swiss Aircraft and Systems Company - Two Different Approaches Dr U Schiefer - BMW to a Better Simulation

of Road Conditions

in the Wind Tunnel

- The Influence of Moving Belt Dimensions G W Carr - MIRA 11.00-11.30pm 11.30-12.30pm

on Vehicle Aerodynamic


Coffee Session 6 General Aerodynamic Interest (2) Chairman - Graham Townsend (MIRA)

- Simultaneous Reduction of Aerodynamic Drag and Mud Deposition of Buses Prof -T Lajos - Technical University of Budapest Due to the late withdrawl of a paper, a presentation by Dr J L Graysmith (MIRA) was given in its place. 12.30-1.30pm 1.30-3.00pm on CFD Predictions of Flow Over Racing Car Wings However, no formal paper is available.

Lunch Session 7 Cross-Wind Sensitivity Chairman - N Smith (Mechanical Dynamics)

"'". - Experimental Results from a small 4x4 Vehicle using the MIRA Cross-Wind Generator
Dr J Howell - Rover - The Simulation of Transient Cross Winds on Passenger Vehicles M Docton/Dr R Dominy - University of Durham - Numerical Predictions of a Flow around a Simple Vehicle form under the Influence of a Transient CrossWind Gust Dr R Dominy /M Docton - University of Durham 3.00-3.30am 3.30-4.30pm Coffee Session 8 CFD Applications for Trains Chairman - Dr K Garry (Cranfield) Based on the Prediction of the Turbulence

- Aerodynamic Noise Reduction using a CFD Approach Production Areas E Devehat - SNCF

- CFD Simulation of Three-Dimensional Unsteady-Train Aerodynamics Y Khandhia/T Johnson/A Gaylard - Applied Computing Engineering/British 4.30pm Closing Address


Y KHANDHIA. Applied Computing and Engineering Ltd. Warrington. England. A P GAYLARD SSc. CPhys. MlnstP. MIRA. Nuneaton. England. T JOHNSON SSc. MSc. AFIMA. MVRS. SR Research. Derby. England.

CFD Simulation of Three Dimensional Unsteady Train Aerodynamics

SYNOPSIS Train aerodynamic problems are inherently three-dimensional, exhibit high Reynolds number behaviour and are unsteady. However. Computational Fluid Dynamics methods (CFD) based on the solution of the full Navier-Stokes equations and utilising sliding meshes. for instance. are both expensive and time-consuming. Wind tunnels and test tracks are an option. but their cost is rising and timescales for design completion are reducing. Also. there is an ever increasing demand for accurate. cost-effective tools to predict aerodynamic behaviour of high speed trains and other vehicles. This paper shows how these conflicting requirements may be reconciled by the use of a Time Stepping Low Order Panel method. USAERO. NOTATION



Coefficient of pressure Relative static pressure (Pa) Train nose passing peak-to-peak static pressure change (Pal Air density (kgm-3 l Laplace operator potential function



Railway aerodynamics covers a very wide range of studies, but is mainly concerned with the processes governing the air flows around moving trains. The movement of a train induces air flows and pressures on the train itself as well as on the trackside environment through which it travels. As a consequence transient structural loads are generated on passing trains and railway infrastructure elements such as signal boxes, parapet walls, etc. Other pressure transients are created as trains enter and leave tunnels. These travel up and down tunnels at sonic speed, often superimposing, to cause aural discomfort for passengers travelling on the train. In order to study these various phenomena, understand the physical processes behind them and begin to propose remedies for problems that arise, it is necessary to undertake tests and simulations. These may take the form of full-scale tests; experiments at model scale or theoretical simulations utilising techniques such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) among others.

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CFD is becoming an increasingly important tool for the train aerodynamicist. Initially, this paper seeks to explain some of the reasons for this trend, by highlighting the pros and cons of the available approaches. Then two instances of the use of a low-order Panel method are described to illustrate the utility of this approach in simulating static pressure disturbances caused by passing trains.

2. 2.1



Full-scale aerodynamic tests have been undertaken by BR Research frequently over the last 25 years. These can be simply characterised as open air or tunnel tests. In the open air, for instance, testing has been undertaken to determine the effect of passing trains on adjacent trains, on the trackside or on the station environment'", Aerodynamic drag testsl21 have also been carried out via the 'coasting' method, in which measurements are made of train speed and acceleration as a train coasts from high speed to rest. Extensive series of tests have been carried out in England and Europe over the last 20 years, many with European railway funding, to measure transient pressure wave and air flow effects in tunnels. In addition, some limited measurements have been made of the thermal environment generated in a tunnel by the passage of diesel trains!" These full-scale tests clearly will achieve measurements they have the following disadvantages: • they are difficult to organise, particularly of Britain's railways, of real-world phenomena but

since the privatisation

and disaggregation

they are expensive, with costs arising from train hire, wage costs of the operating crew, track access charges, and possible compensation payments arising from delays to other trains using the same train paths, low repeatability conditions, due to the difficulty in controlling test parameters and ambient

the generally hostile train environment requires robust both the choice and placement of the instruments used.


and limits

As a consequence, it is likely that full-scale tests for the purpose of research into fundamental effects will become increasingly rare in the future. Furthermore, the technical drawbacks associated with full-scale testing have led to the development of a wide range of model scale test simulations and facilities.




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Model Scale Simulations

The use of model scale simulations is well established in train aerodynamics with wind tunnel tests having been undertaken since the 1930'S141. Such tests, using model scales typically of 1/25, are used routinely to measure forces and moments generated on trains by the combined effect of train movement and cross-winds. In the past static wind tunnel models have been used with uniform onset air flows, leading to some question as to the adequacy of the simulation of the air flows around the lower parts and underside of the trains. More recently, in an attempt to model the movement of trains relative to the ground, models have been fired across wind tunnels. The atmospheric boundary layer has also been modelled to represent both the gust structure of cross-winds and the manner in which the lower part of the onset wind reduces to zero velocity at the ground. Such a technique necessitates the use of statistical averaging to determine mean and extreme values of induced forces and rnornents'", In a further development, designed primarily to assist with the pressure waves generated by trains in tunnels, a unique model scale facility, the Moving Model Rig, has been developed by SR Researchl61• The Rig consists of twin parallel tracks, approximately 150 metres in length, along which can be fired 1/25 scale model trains at speeds up to 200 kilometres per hour. The use of such speeds ensure Mach number similarity with full-scale for the pressure waves generated in model tunnels. The Moving Model Rig can also be used to study the effects of one train passing another, or a train passing a station or trackside structures in the open air. The use of model scale tests has several significant advantages over full-scale testing. These include: • controllable ambient conditions, with the minimisation from physical effects other than those under study, significantly reduced costs, ease of repetition of tests and test conditions. of cross-contamination

• •

Nevertheless, model scale tests have some disadvantages of their own. For instance, great care is required to ensure similarity with full-scale, in particular similarity of scale (Reynolds number) and pressure wave speed (Mach number). Practical considerations limit the extent of the simulations which can be undertaken. For instance, only three or four train vehicles of appropriate scale can be modelled in the more generally available wind tunnels; model tunnel sizes on the Moving Model Rig are limited to be less than 1000 metres full-scale dueto the length of test section available. Finally, all desired parametric variations may not be possible without the need for additional train models. Many of these drawbacks can be resolved by the use of computer-based theoretical simulations.

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2.3 Computational

Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Methods

The term CFO is used here in its broadest sense and such methods encompass the full range of theoretical methods for railway aerodynamics solved by using computers. The simulation techniques include: a) One-dimensional method of characteristics used for the prediction of transient pressure in tunnels. This method is often used as a first pass calculation particularly for simulating complete train tunnel systems. It can be a very fast pressure flow evaluation method, however the two and three dimensional effects are simulated in an average fashion only. Finite volume or Finite Element methods for solution of the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid flow (for example STAR-CD, FLUENT, FIOAP) are used to predict many different aerodynamic flows generated by trains!". Navier-Stokes solution methods are most popular for studying internal flow behaviour. These techniques require discretization of the complete simulation domain which can be very extensive for external flows.


Most aerodynamic applications of finite element and finite volume based methods are presently restricted to steady state domains. The unsteady train aerodynamic simulations may require treatment using sliding mesh algorithms. The sliding mesh approach is computer intensive and is impractical for the solution of real train aerodynamic problems. c) Boundary integral or panel methods, e.g. USAERO, for the prediction of pressure effects generated by trains in the open air. The panel method utilised by the USAERO program is based on solution of potential flow equations coupled with boundary layer and wake relaxation algorithms.

USAERO works on an assumption that when a body is moving through fluid with a velocity V the effects of viscosity are largely confined to thin boundary layers. The wake vorticity is essentially concentrated in the thin free shear layers and discrete vortex filaments. The majority of flow is therefore regarded as inviscid, irrotational and incompressible. The compressibility effects are later accounted for by using KarmenTsien formulation. Laplace's equation can then be applied.

Green's theorem is applied to resolve the equation into a surface integral form. equations are then evaluated on the geometry by discretizing the surface quadrilateral panels using uniform source and doublet drstnbunons":",

The into

Panel methods are not suitable for all train fluid flow calculations. However, their computational economy, along with the potential to handle multiple bodies in general motion, make them a strong contender in specific niche applications. The following sections present simulations made with USAERO. These show that the static pressure perturbations caused by trains passing can be both accurately and economically modelled using a low-order Panel method.






USAERO APPLICATtONS Train Passing A Platform Background

3.1 3.1.1

One of the most important aerodynamic loads imposed on a railway platform is the static pressure perturbation caused by the passing of both the train nose and tail. As the train nose approaches, exposed surfaces experience a steadily increasing static pressure, which reaches a peak just before the tip of the train nose passes. As the train nose passes the pressure falls rapidly to a peak negative value (due to acceleration of the air flow around the train nose), recovering as the train body passes. This process is repeated, albeit with reversed sign and reduced magnitude, when the tail passes. For structures close to the running line the peak-to-peak pressure change can be of the order of 1 kPa, and last for several tens of milliseconds. Passing train speed and distance from the train bodyside are important parameters in determining the size of this effect. The peak-to-peak pressure change is proportional to the square of the passing train's speed and falls approximately with the inverse square of the distance from the passing train bodyside. In addition, the train nose geometry has a profound effect on the size of the pressure perturbation. Generally, the longer the train nose the lower the amplitude of the pressure change. The static pressure perturbation caused by the train nose (and to a lesser extent the tail) passing has important implications for lineside structures, people on the platform and portable items. Lineside structures, such as platform canopies must be sufficiently robust to withstand many train passing events daily, over a period of years, without failing. Pressure perturbations should not be strong enough to put at risk, or discomfort, passengers waiting for trains or platform staff. Finally, neither should the aerodynamic effects be sufficiently strong to move portable items found on platforms, (for example push-chairs, luggage, parcels). Therefore, in order to design safe and comfortable platform environments it is essential to be able to predict the maximum pressure perturbations generated by passing trains. As this is design information the method used should ideally be Quick and flexible, able to both fit into the design process and provide accurate information.



In order to assess the accuracy with which the low-order Panel method solver USAERO could predict train nose passing static pressure change on a platform structure, a model was constructed which comprised the following elements: • • Simple platform, comprising a canopy, backwall and platform surface. Aerodynamically representative model of a IC225 Power-Car.

This model used approximately 4,000 panels to represent the train and platform geometry. For reasons of computational economy, the ground plane was modelled using a symmetry condition. Care was taken to ensure that the platform dimensions and clearances corresponded to a station on the West Coast Main Line that had been the subject of an experimental investigation some years earlier.

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The Power-Car was stepped past the platform structure in 0.01 second time-steps at a speed of 55 ms'. At each time-step a converged aerodynamic solution (inviscid) was obtained for surface pressures and velocities.

3.1.3 Results and Comparison to Experiment
Figure 1 presents the results of dimensionalised peak-to-peak static defined as: .6.Cp!pk-pkl ~Pipk-pkl Yl pV2 = / Where .6.PIPk-pkl the peak-to-peak nose-passing static pressure change (Pal: p is the is density of the density of the ambient air (kgm- 3); and V is the speed of the passing train both the simulation and experiment, as nonpressure change coefficients. This measure is

The experiments were conducted at full scale, and recorded the nose passing static pressure perturbations for a relatively streamlined train (APT-E) and a bluff-fronted train (Class 87). It would be expected that the train design used in the numerical simulation would provide nose-passing pressure perturbations falling between these two designs. Additionally, the design chosen for the simulations would be expected to produce results closer to the values for the APT-E, rather than the Class 87. The results of the USAERO simulation fall within the envelope provided by these two train designs. Moreover, close agreement is shown between the simulation, which used the fairly streamlined Class 91 Power-Car, and the experimental results for the APT-E. This is particularly apparent for the canopy underside and platform backwall. It is also notable that the simulations match the trends shown in the experimental data for the decrease in the pressure perturbation amplitude with distance from the track. This comparison cannot be viewed as a formal validation, because the experimental and computational results are for different vehicle types. Nevertheless, it can be seen as good evidence for the suitability of this type of approach for simulating pressure loads, caused by train nose passing effects, on open-air platform structures. Also, the comparison must be evaluated in light of the rarity of experimental data for this problem and the high cost of obtaining it through full-scale tests. Further, because no indication is available of the experimental uncertainties it is difficult to say whether the differences between experiment and simulation are statistically significant. However, these issues could be economically investigated using a reduced scale moving-model rig. (c.f. §2.2)






Trains Passing In A Tunnel

3.2.1 Background
The aerodynamic effects caused by trains passing in a tunnel. can be split into three general categories: • • • Train nose passing static pressure perturbation; Slipstream effects; Sonic ally-moving pressure waves.

In terms of the imposed structural loads, static pressure changes caused by train nose passing and the sonically-moving pressure waves are usually the most significant, unless high- drag structures are being considered (e.g. signs, signal matrix boards). Both effects are strongly sensitive to train speed. In addition, the resultant static pressure loadings on a train side also depend on the track spacing and hence the separation between the train bodysides (c.f. §3.1.11. Whereas, the strength of the sonically-moving pressure waves also depends upon the train-to-tunnel blockage ratio. When introducing new rolling-stock onto a railway system, designers must be sure that it is sufficiently structurally robust to cope with the aerodynamic effects caused by being passed at speed in a tunnel. In recent years, the use of lightweight freight containers has become widespread on continental European railways. The linking of the UK rail network with that of continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel, and the resulting cross-channel freight traffic, has led to commercial pressure for such containers to run in the UK. Therefore, USAERO was used in parallel with a model-scale experimental study, to assess the aerodynamic loadings on a lightweight freight container as it is passed in a tunnel by a high-speed train. A key focus of the study was to model both a UK and German design case and determine the relative aerodynamic loadings, for the same train speed. This would enable safe operating limits to be derived from the German experience, correcting for features peculiar to the UK rail network. (Small bore main-line tunnels, for example.)



First, it should be noted that USAERO cannot model the sonic ally-moving pressure waves generated by train movement in a tunnel. These effects were addressed separately using the SR Research Moving Model Rig of section 2.2. The experiment was constructed so the nose passing static pressure change did not have any sonic allymoving pressure waves superimposed, facilitating a direct comparison between the USAERO model predictions and the measured data. Two models were formulated: • • German design case UK design case

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The German case was based on a 08 lnter-Citv Express (ICE) power-car passing a freight locomotive hauling a single container wagon, in a typical Neubaustrecke tunnel. The tunnel cross-sectional area was 82 m2 and a standard 08 track- spacing of 4.7 m was specified. This geometry was modelled using 3768 quadrilateral panels. In contrast, the UK design case modelled a Class 91 power-car passing the freight train in a small·bore tunnel on the West Coast Main Line (WCMLl. In this case the tunnel cross-section is only 43.2 m2 and the track-spacinq the standard BR value of 3.4 m.

3.2.3 Results and Comparison to Experiment
The results obtained are illustrated by the sequence of Figures 2 to 7. These show the progression of the German ICE down the tunnel and past the stationary freight train. Static pressures on the vehicle and tunnel sides are shown as a map of non-dimensional pressure coefficients (Cp). It can be seen that a pressure perturbation propagates, with the moving train, along the tunnel. Also, static pressure excursions are smaller on the vehicle roof, compared to the passing side. Additionally, on the passing side of the container, the pressure perturbations are fairly constant with height. Looking at the pressure distribution longitudinally, the pressures are at their maximum (positive) value as the front of the locomotive passes by. The pressure then falls as the rest of the nose passes, reaching a maximum (negative) value once this is completed. Therefore, in reality, a "ripple" would be propagated along the flexible container side. It is encouraging to note that these observations are in line with the known characteristics of this type of flow. Confidence in the numerical simulation is further enhanced by comparing the predicted pressures to the measurements obtained from the rnovinq-rnodel experiment. Taking a pressure tapping located in the middle of the container side (a location least susceptible to any Reynolds number dependant effects due to the reduced scale of the experiment) the experiment measured a peak-to-peak nose passing pressure change for the UK rolling stock of 0.91. The USAERO simulation predicted a value of 0.89, within 2 % of the experimental measurement. This is shown by the pressure history presented in Figure 8. In the Figure, the measured and simulated surface pressure coefficients are plotted against time. Clearly, not only does the USAERO simulation accurately capture the peak-to-peak amplitude of the nose passing pressure change, but also the gradient and duration. In this study the relative difference between the UK and German cases were of particular importance. The experimental investigation gave a ratio of UK/German pressure change coefficients of 1.9. The USAERO simulation estimated this parameter as 1.8, accurately resolving the differences between the two cases.

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Clearly, economic considerations are moving train aerodynamics studies away from full. scale testing towards model-scale and computer based simulations. When considering these alternative approaches, engineers need methods that are quick and economic but retain sufficient accuracy. This paper has shown that, for the simulation of train nose passing static pressure perturbations, a low-order Panel method (USAERO) meets these criteria The results obtained show good agreement with the available full-scale and model-scale experimental data. Further, both trends and peak-to-peak pressure changes were predicted with reasonable accuracy. This demonstrates the technical credibility of the method for investigating specific aspects of three-dimensional unsteady train aerodynamics. Importantly, the simulation results have been obtained without recourse to a threedimensional Navier-Stokes solver that would require sliding, or deforming, meshes to represent train movement relative to other structures. Therefore, the simulations have been both quick and economical. requiring around 10 hours of run-time on a modest workstation (Silicon Graphics, Personal Iris, 4D35TGl. As a consequence, this approach is suitable for projects where the simulation results are needed quickly, particularly where they are being fed back into the design process. Finally, the examples presented show that this approach is particularly suitable for investigations where model-scale or full-scale experiments are conducted, but where there is also a requirement for: • • examining design changes, without repeating physical experiments; performing parametric studies dimensions, for example). (using a range of track spacings or platform

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REFERENCES GAWTHORPE R. G. High Speed Aerodynamic Effects on Existing Railways. Proceedings : world Congress on Railway Research. 14-16 November 1994, Paris, France. Pp 787-795. SNCF Publications 1994. JOHNSON, T. Train Drag Studies Presentation 4 at the Railway Aerodynamics symposium, Nottingham University, 4 April 1984. POPE, C.W. and WOODS, WA. The prediction of Thermal Effects in Railway Tunnels. Paper E3. Procs. 5th International Symposium on the Aerodynamics & Ventilation of Vehicle Tunnels, Lille, France, 20 - 22 May 1985. BHRA Fluid Engineering, Cranfield UK 1985. JOHANSEN, F.C. The air resistance of passenger trains, Institute of Mechanical Engineers, 1936, (134), pp 91-209. Proceedings of the





HUMPHREYS, N.D. and BAKER, C.J. The application of wind engineering techniques to moving ground vehicles. Vehicle Aerodynamics, 18-19 July 1994, Loughborough University of Technology. The Royal Aeronautical Society, London, UK. POPE, C.W. moving model Ventilation of 737. Elsevier The simulation of flows in railway tunnels using a 1/25 scale facility. 7th International Symposium on the Aerodynamics and Vehicle Tunnels, Brighton, UK, 17-29 November 1991. pp 709Science Publishers Ltd.



GAYLARD, A.P. and JOHNSON, T. The Practical Application of CFD to Railway Aerodynamics. Paper C461/020, Engineering Applications of Computational Fluid Dynamics, European Conference, London, 7-8 September 1993. Mechanical Engineering Publications Ltd USAERO Users Manual Version C.4 MASKEW, S . Numerical analysis of a complete yacht using a time-domain boundary element method. Third International Seminar on Yacht and Small Craft Design, Catelluccio di Pienze, Italy, 19-23 May 1993.

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Acknowledgements An acknowledgement is made to the British Railways Board and SR Research for permission to ououshthts paper. In addition, the authors are particularly grateful to Dr Brian Maskew of Analytical Methods Incorporated for his help and advice.

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Distance Along Canopy 1m

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0.2 0.1





Canopy Underside

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0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1

Platform 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4
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Class 87, experimental - APT-E, experimental G> U8AERO, simulation

0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8






Distance Along Platform Width

Figure 1 Static pressure changes for a train passing a typical platform
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Figure 2 ICE passing container. ICE enters tunnel

Figure 3 ICE passing container. ICE passes locomotive

Figure 4 ICE passing container. ICE starts to pass container




Figure 5 ICE passing container. Positive pressure builds on container



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Figure 6 ICE passing container. ICE passing container mid-point

Figure 7 ICE passing container. ICE nose passes end of container




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