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College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

School of Mechanical Engineering

CFD The Green Bus Company Report
Ravi Patel - 1101066

The Green Bus Company has requested a recommendation for a new design for
their existing double decker buses. The new design must aim to be more
aerodynamic thereby reducing fuel consumption rates and making the buses more
efficient. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software must be used for the
analysis steps and ultimately to determine if the new design is more aerodynamic
than the existing model.
The existing bus design is not as efficient as it could be due to its box-shape design.
This design would probably suffer from a large amount of drag force indicated by a
large drag co-efficient value. Designing a more aerodynamic bus would mean
altering any sharp edges to smooth round ones and making the bus more streamline
so the air can flow smoothly around the bus with as little resistance as possible. The
frontal area of the bus has been streamlined to reduce the amount of pressure
contributing to drag at the front of the bus and to ensure that a boundary (preferably
laminar to reduce surface friction) will begin forming along the surface. The backward
sloping roof ensures that the bus is more streamlined and flow separation is reduced
keeping the boundary layer intact for as long as possible to avoid a very low pressure
(from a turbulent wake) at the rear leading to high pressure drag. The intention of the
redesign is to reduce the drag co-efficient
of the bus.

Old Design (Fig 1)

New Design (Fig 2)

The software used for the CFD analysis was ANSYS Fluent. Both buses were initially
designed in Solidworks and imported into Fluent at the initial geometry stage.
Fluent Setup and Methodology
The imported body was first frozen so it couldnt interact or be merged with the
enclosure which was created using the enclosure tool to represent the wind tunnel. It

was dimensioned in such a way that there were 3 bus lengths in front and 5 behind
as recommended by Best practice guidelines for handling Automotive External
Aerodynamics with FLUENT(1). Other dimensions were based on judgement for
example an extra bus width parallel to the bus and 2 bus heights above. It was
essential to ensure the symmetry
Fig 3

plane of the bus was correctly applied

to create the split along the bus for
analysis and to ensure the wheels of
the bus were touching the bottom of
the enclosure. Finally the Boolean
tool was used to subtract the model

volume from the surrounding enclosure and was renamed air (Figure 3).
Most of the default options were kept for the meshing stage except that the advanced
size function was changed to Proximity and Curvature to help a better mesh form
as the mesh approached closer to the bus body and a finer mesh around curved
surfaces both leading to a more accurate analysis. The smoothing option was
changed to fine for the same reason however the mesh size must remain below
500,000. Named Selections were created and specific names were assigned to
some faces of the enclosure and for the bus body. The middle, top and outer faces
were named symmetry, symmetry-top and symmetry-side respectively. This was
to ensure each of these was recognised
as a slip wall (zero shear stress wall). The
front and rear faces were called velocityinlet and pressure-outlet as these are
both automatically recognised by Fluent
Fig 4 (Meshing of Geometry)

which applies the correct settings.

Setup and Solver

Some changes to the default options needed to be made in this section. Firstly, the
model was changed to k-epsilon which includes more equations for a more complex
and accurate analysis. Realizable was also chosen and the Near-Wall treatment
was switched to Non-equilibrium wall functions. These options are for more
complex flows including turbulent models where rapid changes in flow occur. Under
materials, it was ensured the air enclosure made earlier was selected. Next, under
boundary conditions, the velocity specification was changed to magnitude and

direction and the values 13.41 and 1 in the X component were chosen respectively.
This created an airflow velocity of 13.41m/s (30mph) flowing toward the rear of the
bus thereby simulating real-life conditions. The turbulence specification method was
changed to intensity and viscosity ratio.
Intensity (%)

Viscosity (%)

Velocity Inlet


Pressure Outlet


(Table 1)

The values in Table 1 were entered as the respective values in the intensity and
viscosity ratio fields. The intensity was chosen as 1 for the flow in front of the vehicle
as turbulence would be low and selected slightly higher for the rear as when the flow
separates, it becomes slightly turbulent. The viscosities were chosen because they
were recommended as typically good values (2). Area and velocity input were
required under reference values, and these were 13.41m/s for the velocity and the
projected area could be found the reports tab, by selecting the bus body and
selecting a minimum feature size of 0.001, the program will compute the projected
frontal area of both buses. These were both around 5m2. The temperature and
viscosity values were kept as default. For solution methods and controls, coupled
solution was chosen as it solves equations simultaneously and is more efficient for
steady state flow models (3). Momentum, turbulent kinetic energy and turbulent
dissipation rate were changed to second order upwind for greater accuracy. For
solution controls, courant number was changed to 50 and the explicit relaxation
factors for momentum and pressure were changed to 0.25 to stabilise skewness
which must be under 0.98. For monitors it was essential to select to print and plot for
drag and the X component vector was changed to -1 to go against the bus
movement. Again for steady state models, hybrid initialization was recommended as
no additional user input was required (4). The number of iterations was altered to 100
as this should be more than enough to reach convergence (Figure 5 and 6) on a
value for the drag co-efficient for both buses which are shown in Table 2 below.

Original Design (CD)

New Design (CD)



(Table 2)

Results and Discussion

Fig 5

Fig 6

Using ANSYS Fluent, graphs can be generated to show contours, vectors and
streamlines of different variables such as velocity, pressure, turbulence intensity,
turbulent kinetic energy and many more. The graphs which show the intended results
best are the 2D velocity streamline and the turbulent kinetic energy diagrams




Looking at the velocity streamline, the velocity is reduced as it hits the front of the
bus in both cases, however with the old design, eddy currents are formed on top and
predominantly at the rear of the bus (A). In the new design (B) the velocity
streamlines flow smoothly over the surface of the bus and the boundary layer
remains intact (predominantly laminar) and the flow remains smooth even after it
leaves the bus whereas it becomes turbulent due to the viscosity separating the

boundary layer almost straight away with the old design. In the turbulent kinetic
energy diagrams (C) and (D), even though at first glance it may seem as if the
turbulent kinetic energy is higher at the rear of the new design however the scales
had to be altered to logarithmic to clearly show the variations in turbulence contours
in each diagram.
Reducing the drag force on a body increases the fuel efficiency. Drag consists of two
components; Pressure drag and Frictional drag. Some factors affecting the drag are
projected frontal area of the body, vehicle velocity and air density. However these
must remain the same for both buses as the average speed on the road will not
change and the air density will not change significantly as atmosphere temperature
will remain around constant. Frontal area cannot be reduced easily as a double
decker buss primary objective is public transport. The last factor is the drag coefficient which can be reduced to improve efficiency. The turbulent wake is
proportional to the drag force. Due to the original designs box shape a high pressure
is applied at the front of the bus and very low pressure at the rear in the turbulent
wake. It is the difference in these pressures which causes pressure drag whereas the
new designs streamlined shape ensures a smoother flow where the boundary layer
separates as late as possible to reduce the size of turbulent wake dramatically
thereby reducing the drag co-efficient. The more streamlined shape also reduced
surface friction and thereby reducing frictional drag, improving the drag co-efficient
further. However the co-efficient cannot be too low as lift may occur. This is when the
pressure on the bottom of the body is higher than the pressure on the top or the air
causes a lifting force at the front of the vehicle and downward force at the rear casing
the body to lift. This is unlikely to be a problem as buses are of and carry substantial
weight. Also the buses will travel at fairly low speeds (maximum of 70mph) so this
would not be an issue for the Green Bus company.
Verification and Conclusion
A simple sphere was modelled on ANSYS Fluent to give a drag co-efficient of 0.1.
The Reynolds number was calculated from this value to around 0.96 x 106 which was
looked up on a Reynolds number- Drag co-efficient graph (5) and the drag coefficient was found to be around 0.1 for this value therefore validating the calibration
of the parameter in Fluent. The drag co-efficient value for the new design is 0.59
(normally around 0.7 for buses) which is around half of the 1.19 value of the original.
This indicates that the new design is much more aerodynamic and subject to less
drag than the original design. Therefore it would have a much better fuel economy.