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Aerodynamics in Cars Seminar

Aerodynamics in Cars Seminar

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Published by: Swapnil Joshi on Apr 21, 2012
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Aerodynamics In Cars


Aerodynamics In Cars


When objects move through air, forces are generated by the relative motion between the air and surfaces of the object. Aerodynamics is the study of these forces, generated by the motion of air, usually aerodynamics are categorized according to the type of flow as subsonic, hypersonic, supersonic etc. It is essential that aerodynamics be taken in to account during the design of cars as an improved aerodynamics in car would attain higher speeds and more fuel efficiency. For attaining this aerodynamic design the cars are designed lower to the ground and are usually sleek in design and almost all corners are rounded off, to ensure smooth passage of air through the body , in addition to it a number of enhancements like spoilers, wings are also attached to the cars for improving aerodynamics. Wind tunnels are used for analyzing the aerodynamics of cars , besides this a number of software’s are also available now days to ensure the optimal aerodynamic design.


Aerodynamics In Cars CONTENTS Acknowledgement Abstract Contents List of figures 1. Aerodynamic forces on a body a) Lift b) Weight c) Drag d) Thrust 3. conclusions 10. History and evolution of aerodynamics 4. Study of Aerodynamic forces on cars a) Drag b) Lift or Downforce 5. Aerodynamic devices 6. References 3 . Aerodynamic Design tips 9. Methods for evaluating Aerodynamics in cars a) Wind tunnels b) Softwares 8. Drag Coefficiant 7. Introduction 2.

Aerodynamics have wide range of applications mainly in aerospace engineering . for e. where as internal aerodynamics is the flow through passages in solid objects. supersonic if characteristics of flow is greater than that of sound and hypersonic if flow is very much greater than that of sound. This ratio is called Mach number.then in the design of automobiles. The behavior of air flow changes depends on the ratio of the flow to the speed of sound.g. prediction of forces and moments in ships and sails. where they help to calculate wind loads in design of large buildings. based on this mach number the aerodynamic problems can be classified as subsonic if the speed of flow is less than that of sound. Based on the flow environment it can be classified in to external aerodynamics and internal aerodynamics.Aerodynamics In Cars INTRODUCTION When objects move through air. transonic if speeds both below and above speed of sound are present. study of these forces generated by air is called aerodynamics. external aerodynamics is the flow around solid objects of various shapes. in the field of civil engineering as in the design of bridges and other buildings. the flow through jet engine air conditioning pipe etc. 4 . forces are generated by the relative motion between air and surfaces of the body.

dependent on the specific geometry of the object. Lift is caused by Bernoulli’s effect which states that air must flow over a long path in order to cover the same displacement in the same amount of time. it is this difference in pressure that creates the object to rise F=(1/2)CLdV2A Where : CL= Coefficient of Lift. This creates a low pressure area over the long edge of object as a result a low pressure region is formed over the aerofoil and a high pressure region is formed below the aerofoil. parallel to wind 5 .Aerodynamics In Cars AERODYNAMIC FORCES ON A BODY Fig 1 LIFT It is the sum of all fluid dynamic forces on a body normal to the direction of external flow around the body. A=Cross-sectional area of object. determined experimentally d= Density of air V=Velocity of object relative to air.

6 . THRUST When a body is in motion a drag force is created which opposes the motion of the object so thrust can be the force produce in opposite direction to drag that is higher than that of drag so that the body can move through the fluid. The total force experienced by a system accelerating in mass “m” is equal and opposite to mass “m” times the acceleration experienced by that mass.i. dependent on the specific geometry of the object.This weight has a significant effect on the acceleration of the object.e. V=Velocity of object relative to air. It is the most important aerodynamic force to study because it limits both fuel economy of a vehicle and the maximum speed at which a vehicle can travel. determined experimentally. the mass of the object multiplied by the magnitude of gravitational field. WEIGHT It is actually just the weight of the object that is in motion. d= Density of air. F=(1/2)CDdV2A where: CD= Coefficient of Drag. In other words drag can be explained as the force caused by turbulent airflow around an object that opposes the forward motion of the object through a gas or fluid. Since drag is dependent on square of velocity it is most predominant when object is traveling at very high speeds. so it acts opposite to the direction of the object. Thrust is a reaction force explained by Newton’s second and third laws.Aerodynamics In Cars DRAG It is the sum of all external forces in the direction of fluid flow. A= cross section of frontal area.

after this the levels of drag found on cars began to slowly increase. After 1950. where by this time the aerodynamic dray had been cut by about 45% from the early cars such as the Silver Ghost. which led to changes in car aerodynamics. 7 . During the 1970’s there was a fuel crisis and so the demand for more economical cars became greater.Aerodynamics In Cars HISTORY & EVOLUTION OF AERODYNAMICS Ever since the first car was manufactured in early 20 th century the attempt has been to travel at faster speeds. yet they were restricting the layout of the interior for the car. This was due to the way that the designing was thought about. If a car has poor aerodynamics then the engine has to do more work to go the same distance as a car with better aerodynamics. This quickly led to a public demand for cars with a lower aerodynamic drag in order to be more economical for the family. which led to changes in car aerodynamics. incorporation of wheels into the body and the insetting of the headlamps into the front of the car. in the earlier times aerodynamics was not a factor as the cars where traveling at very slow speeds there were not any aerodynamic problems but with increase of speeds the necessity for cars to become more streamlined resulted in structural invention such as the introduction of the windscreen. it didn’t take long before the issue of aerodynamics came back into the picture in the form of fuel economy. the levels of aerodynamic drag went up because cars were becoming more family friendly and so as a consequence the shapes available to choose were more limited and so it was not possible to keep the low level of aerodynamic drag. The rectangular shape made cars more purposeful for the family and so it is fair to say that after 1950 the designing of cars was to aid the lifestyle of larger families. This was probably the fastest developing time in automobiles history as the majority of the work was to try and reduce the aerodynamic drag. However. Although this was a good thing for families. Before1950. and therefore the car with the better aerodynamics uses less fuel than the other car. designers were trying to make cars as streamlined as possible to make it easier for the engine. so if the engine is working harder it is going to need more fuel to allow the engine to do the work. During the 1970’s there was a fuel crisis and so the demand for more economical cars became greater. This happened up to the early 1950’s.

The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling. Fig 2 Only about 15% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories. 8 . the potential to improve fuel efficiency with advanced technologies is enormous. in a way it is true but it is not all about speed. by designing the car aerodynamically we can reduce the friction that it encounters and there by power needed to overcome would be less thus fuel can be saved.Aerodynamics In Cars This diagram below shows the typical use of cars energy that it gets. Therefore. Now a days almost all cars are manufactured aerodynamically . one misconception that everyone has is aerodynamics is all about going faster. so now a days aerodynamics are given very much importance as everyone like to have a good looking . such as air conditioning. In the modern era where our fuel resources are fast depleting all the efforts are to find alternate sources of energy or to save our current resources or minimize the use of current resources like fuels. stylish and fuel efficient car.

This is based on F=MA or more accurately. CAR WEIGHT As with the parts inside the engine. less force is required to move the car. meaning that a car with a low drag force will be able to accelerate and travel faster than one with a high drag force. and this energy is used to overcome a force called Drag. it takes some energy to move the car through the air. primarily if it is in motion. it takes some energy to move the car through the air. Frontal pressure and rear vaccum. As we all know. and this energy is used to overcome a force called Drag. which means less consumption of fuel. As we all know. or less force is required to accelerate the lighter car. through the use of lighter materials or better designs. DRAG FORCE AT LOW SPEEDS The total drag force decreases. the acceleration increases. in vehicle aerodynamics. To understand this flow. you can visualize a car moving through the air. 9 . Drag. DRAG A simple definition of aerodynamics is the study of the flow of air around and through a vehicle.Aerodynamics In Cars STUDY OF AERODYNAMICS OF CARS In order to improve the aerodynamics we must first know how the flow of air past a car. A=F/M. if we visualize a car moving through the air. when the entire car is made lighter. is comprised primarily of two forces. so as mass of the car decreases. This means a smaller engine is required to drive such a car.

Similar results can be achieved through a suitably curved roofs. much of this improvement arrives because a more sloped screen means a softer angle at the top where it meets the roof. and to lower the drag’. keeping flow attached. the air molecules traveling along the sides of the car are at atmospheric pressure. continuous curve originating from the line of the front bumper’. However. a lower pressure compared to the molecules at the front of the car. 10 . top and bottom of the car. and they find it around the sides. and in doing so raise the air pressure in front of the car. Improvements at the front can be made by ensuring the ‘front end is made as a smooth. As millions of air molecules approach the front grill of the car. not as upright) ‘tends to reduce the pressure at the base of the screen. Making the screen more raked (ie. The compressed molecules of air naturally seek a way out of the high pressure zone in front of the car.Aerodynamics In Cars FRONT END Fig 3 Frontal pressure is caused by the air attempting to flow around the front of the car. they begin to compress. At the same time.

and as a result. as mentioned above. To visualize this.(results of wind tunnel tests) Fig 4 REAR END Rear vacuum (a non-technical term.Aerodynamics In Cars This graph clearly shows that drag force is directly proportional to frontal area.At the rear of vehicles. but the bus is always one step ahead. The blocky shape of the bus punches a big hole in the air. This inability to fill the hole left by the bus is technically called Flow detachment . imagine a bus driving down a road. The air molecules attempt to fill in to this area. with the air rushing around the body. In plan view. As this is not practical. it has been found that ‘raising and/or lengthening the boot generally reduces the drag”. At speeds above a crawl. This empty area is a result of the air molecules not being able to fill the hole as quickly as the bus can make it. a continuous vacuum sucks in the opposite direction of the bus. rounding corners and ‘all 11 . the ideal format is a long and gradual slope. but very descriptive) is caused by the "hole" left in the air as the car passes through it. the space directly behind the bus is "empty" or like a vacuum.

‘Tapering the rear in plan view’. a smooth surface is desirable as it can reduce both vehicle drag and surface friction drag. 12 . the ideal shape would have some curvature on the underside. and it is really about giving the air molecules time to follow the contours of a car's bodywork. usually from the rear wheel arch backwards. and to fill the hole left by the vehicle.Aerodynamics In Cars forward facing elements’ will reduce drag. and this can be attributed to the Turbulence created by the detachment.’ Fig 5 Flow detachment applies only to the "rear vacuum" portion of the drag equation. Under the vehicle. The reason keeping flow attachment is so important is that the force created by the vacuum far exceeds that created by frontal pressure. ‘For a body in moderate proximity to the ground. ‘can produce a significant reduction in drag’. Increases in curvature of the entire vehicle in plan will usually decrease drag provided that frontal area is not increased.

of course use things like inverted wings to force the car down onto the track. above that the air pressure was high as the air rammed into the front grill of the car. Now. Every object traveling through air creates either a lifting or down force situation. instead of lifting up. This is because the car body shape itself generates a low pressure area above itself. or to a vehicle in motion. causing the pressure to drop. What is really happening is that the air slows down as it approaches the front of the car. it accelerates. For a given volume of air. increasing traction. the lower the speed of the air molecules. 13 . but when it reaches the windscreen. Once the air Stagnates at the point in front of the car. The higher pressure area in front of the windscreen creates a small (or not so small) down force. top and bottom of the car. When we discussed Frontal Pressure. the notch created by the window dropping down to the trunk leaves a vacuum. as the air flows over the hood of the car. This of course only applies to air in motion across a still body. such as the sides. Down force is the same as the lift experienced by airplane wings. the lower the pressure becomes. Where most road cars get into trouble is the fact that there is a large surface area on top of the car's roof.Aerodynamics In Cars Fig 6 LIFT OR DOWNFORCE One term very often heard in race car circles is Down force. the higher the speed the air molecules are traveling. Likewise. Worse still. Race cars. The lower pressure area above the hood of the car creates a small lifting force that acts upon the area of the hood (Sort of like trying to suck the hood off the car). or low pressure space that the air is not able to fill properly. once the air makes it's way to the rear window. moving through still air. This is akin to pressing down on the windshield. for a given volume of air. The flow is said to detach and the resulting lower pressure creates lift that then acts upon the surface area of the trunk. and briefly reaches a higher pressure. it seeks a lower pressure area. it again comes up against a barrier. This lower pressure literally lifts on the car's roof as the air passes over it. only it acts to press down. and as a result more molecules are packed into a smaller space. it's loses pressure. the higher the pressure becomes. As the higher pressure air in front of the wind screen travels over the windscreen. The average street car however tends to create lift.

the airflow over a car is filled with high and low pressure areas. So. Fig 8 14 . then the widening gap between the underside and the road creates a vacuum. or low pressure area. the underside of the car is also responsible for creating lift or down force. If a car's front end is lower than the rear end. The lower front of the car effectively restricts the air flow under the car. and therefore "suction" that equates to down force. as you can see. the sum of which indicate that the car body either naturally creates lift or down force.Aerodynamics In Cars Fig 7 Not to be forgotten.

An airplane wing produces lift. but the bottom side is curved. which basically states that the total amount of energy in a volume of fluid has to remain constant. The air under the wing has to follow the curve. The way a real. and hence travel a greater distance. shaped wing works is essentially the same as an airplane wing. But how is the difference in pressure generated? Well. some going over the top of the wing. if you look closely at the drawings. you'll see that the upper side of the wing is relatively straight. a car wing produces negative lift or in other words what we call us. the lower the pressure of that air. What happens is that the lower pressure area under the wing allows the higher pressure area above the wing to "push" down on the wing. From an energetic point of view.Aerodynamics In Cars WINGS & SPOILERS What this wings or spoilers does is it prevents the separation of flow and there by preventing the formation of vortices or helps to fill the vaccum in the rear end more effectively thus reducing drag. it boils down to this: if air (or any fluid. and vice-versa. This means that the air that goes above the wing travels a relatively straight path. 15 . Now there's Bernoulli's law. What a wing does is make the air passing under it travel a larger distance than the air passing over it (in race car applications). and some going under the bottom. The wing works by differentiating pressure on the top and bottom surface of the wing. for that matter) speeds up. there's less energy left do do work by applying pressure to the surfaces. (Unless you heat it or expose an enclosed volume of it to some form of mechanical work) If you assume the air doesn't move up and down too much. its pressure drops. So what actually this wings does is that. the higher the speed of a given volume of air. Because air molecules approaching the leading edge of the wing are forced to separate. but it's inverted. they are forced to travel differing distances in order to "Meet up" again at the trailing edge of the wing. which is short. As mentioned previously. downforce. this makes sense: if more energy is needed to maintain the speed of the particles. and hence the car it's mounted to. . This is part of Bernoulli's theory. That lift is generated by a difference in pressure on both sides of the wing.

the use of computers to analyze fluid flows where the entire area is divided in to grids and each grid is analyzed and suitable algorithms are developed to solve the equations of motion. Ford researchers have developed a computerized. Additionally. which displays the varying pressure as dramatically different colors on a monitor. pressure-sensitive paint technique that measures airflow over cars. A bank of blue lights illuminate the car to be tested that has pressure-sensitive paint applied on the driver's side window. But with the introduction of computational fluid dynamics i. A digital camera near the blue lights captures this information and feeds it into a computer. They can then be used to study air flow patterns across a vehicle.e. are used to calculate surface pressure. The car and lights are in a wind tunnel at Ford Motor Company's Dearborn Proving Ground. SOFTWARES Now a days a large number of software’s are developed for the analysis and optimization of aerodynamics in automobiles. shaving weeks off current testing methods. These differences in color. Special pressure sensitive paint is now used in the wind tunnel to graphically show levels of air pressure on a vehicle how it is done is that .Two different images are obtained. The images obtained from tests in the wind tunnel are captured on computer. one at normal room air pressure (wind-off) and a second in which the wind tunnel is running (wind-on) at a desired test speed. from wind-off to wind-on. Earlier times the cars were worked directly on wind tunnels where they prepared different shapes or cross sections and tested upon the cars.Based on CFD large number of software’s are developed for the design and analyzing aerodynamics the 16 .Aerodynamics In Cars Now a days the aerodynamic studies are not constrained to the flow of air past cars but also a number of other factors like new methods are developed to provide a greater level of detailed information. actual data from a production ready model can be compared with pre-production computer predictions which can in turn help improve the accuracy of the early design stages. during those times it was not possible to test the for small areas that is for a small part of front area etc there testing were made for the entire cross sections. highlighting areas of possible refinement or improvement.

4) Modeling Industry-leading. This software performs all the basics of design right from the sketching to evaluation. accuracy and precision required in automotive styling. real-time diagnostics and scan data processing technology. 5) Advanced Automotive Surfacing Tools Surface creation tools that maintain positional. Add details and explore ideas quickly by sketching over 3D forms before taking the time to model them. It offers advanced modeling and reverse engineering tools. Features: 1)User Interaction A user interface that enables creativity and efficiency 2) Sketching A complete set of tools for 2D design work tightly integrated into a 3D modeling environment 3)2D / 3D Integration Take advantage of your sketching skills throughout the design process.Aerodynamics In Cars most commonly used software’s are ANSYS. 6) Reverse Engineering Tools for importing and configuring cloud data sets from scanners for visualizing.CATIA. 17 . tangent or curvature continuity between surfaces . Here are some of the features of commonly used software Alias surface studio ALIAS SURFACE AND AUTO STUDIO Alias Surface Studio is a technical surfacing product designed for the development surfaces. NURBS-based surface modeler. Surface Studio is comprised of a complete suite of tools for creating surface models to meet the high levels of quality. manufacturability results.for high quality. as well as extracting feature lines and building surfaces based on cloud data.

) There should be no sharp angles (except where it is necessary to avoid crosswind instability ). and curve up in a continuous line.Aerodynamics In Cars 7) Evaluation Tools Tools to analyze and evaluate the styling and physical properties of curves and surfaces interactively. design analysis of mechanisms. and pay attention to the angle of wind shield.) .) Make corners round instead of sharp . 10)DataIntegration Support for industry-standard data formats and a wide range of peripheral devices.) The underbody should be as smooth and continuous as possible. highlights.) Keep the vehicle low to the ground. with a low nose. while creating and editing geometry. reflections and backgrounds. 18 . etc. . motion and ergonomic studies. AERODYNAMIC DESIGN TIPS . 8)Rendering Create photorealistic images using textures.These software’s are now commonly in use as wind tunnel testing is an expensive process as compared to this software’s where we get more accurate and easily the test results. Open wheels create a great deal of drag and air flow turbulence . colours. 9)Animation Animations can be used for high quality design presentations. . shadows.) Enclose the under carriage (avoid open areas-convertibles.) Cover the wheel wells. manufacturing or assembly simulation. .) The front end should start at a low stagnation line. and should sweep out slightly at rear.

• Close your windows.) Using spoilers or wings. . This reduces skin friction. All at once! • Avoid having roof-racks and carriers on your car. FOR A VEHICLE YOU ALREADY OWN • Keep your vehicle washed and waxed. Air gets trapped in the bed and causes major drag.) All details such as door handles should be smoothly integrated within the contours.Aerodynamics In Cars . • Place your license plate out of the air flow front fender reduces air flow beneath the car. . while having it behind will decrease the low pressure 19 . • For pickups: cover the back. . Having it on the behind the car and reduce drag. . • Remove mud flaps from behind the wheels. take the gate off. ) All body panels should have a minimal gap.) Glazing should be flush with the surface as much as possible. • Add a spoiler to the front fender or the rear of the car.) Minor items such as wheel trims and wing mirrors should be optimized using wind tunnel testing.) The front screen should be raked as much as is practical. . and close your sun roof. put your top up. or at least leave the gate open.

Aerodynamics In Cars CONCLUSION Earlier cars were poorly designed with heavy engines . 20 . protruding parts and rectangular Shapes due to which they consumed large quantities of fuel and and became unaffordable all theses factors lead to the development and need of aerodynamics in the design of cars now it would be fair to say that all most all cars are tested for getting the optimum aerodynamic configuration.

wikipedia. 2) Introduction to Aerodynamics by Anderson.com 2) www. Barnard R.com 21 . WEBSITES 1) www.cardesignonline.Aerodynamics In Cars REFERENCES BOOKS 1) Road Vehicle Aerodynamic Design .H.

Aerodynamics In Cars 22 .

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