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International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering

Analysis of Aerodynamic Aspects of SUV by Analytical and Experimental Method

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Dinesh Dhande Manoj Bauskar

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International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2013)

Analysis of Aerodynamic Aspects of SUV by Analytical and

Experimental Method
Dinesh Dhande1, Manoj Bauskar2
AISSMS college of Engineering, Pune, India
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Pune, India
Abstract-- In last two decade fuel efficiency has become Consumers not only need fuel efficient vehicles but also
topic of discussion not only among the scholar researchers but want good aesthetic appearance along with safety as prime
also common men. As rapid and continuous increase in prizes importance factor. Well designed aerodynamic vehicle
of fuels consumers are going for most fuel efficient vehicles. consumes not only less fuel in overcoming the drag exerted
By aerodynamic styling of vehicle one can not only improve
by air while running at higher speeds but also offers good
the fuel efficiency but also ensure better stability and good
handling characteristics of vehicles at higher speed especially stability and handling behavior [6]. When Comparison
on highways. The paper describes assessment of drag force between vehicles driving in urban areas and on highways
(Fd) and drag coefficient (Cd) by conventional wind tunnel made, it is found that the fuel consumption due to
method. The experimental calculations were performed on aerodynamic drag is more on highways. By optimizing
subsonic wind tunnel having test section of 100cm x 30cm x 30 exterior shape of vehicle the drag coefficient can be
cm. Exact replica of model of sports utility vehicle (suv) on reduced and fuel efficiency can be improved at higher
reduced scale 1:32 is used to conduct and perform the speeds [4]. Average Cd values have improved from 0.7 for
experiment for calculating Fd and Cd. And while the three old boxy design of vehicle to merely 0.3 [2] for more
dimensional computational analysis was carried out using
aerodynamic ones. Aerodynamics is basically the study of
Gambit as the preprocessing software and Fluent as the solver
and post processor. The comparison of computational how the air flows over the surface of vehicle. While air
approach with experimental shows that the computed Fd moving past vehicle exerts two types of forces on vehicle
agree well with the experimental values over the entire range surface [3] , i) Tangential force; ii) Forces normal to the
of air velocities. vehicle surface. Good aerodynamically designed vehicle
spends less fuel in overcoming the drag means is more fuel
Keywords— Wind Tunnel, Drag Force, Drag Coefficient, efficient but aerodynamic styling of vehicle is crucial
Fuel Efficiency, Computational Fluid Dynamics. aspects of vehicle design a complex phenomenon [1]. The
paper describes experimental & computational calculation
I. INTRODUCTION of drag force and drag coefficient of scale model 1:32 of
With continuing increase and uncertain future of fuel sports utility vehicle by measuring the pressure at front side
price, the worlds scientist has put more focus on alternative of vehicle by pitot tube and backside by anemometer.
energy and saving it. Automobile industry, which
consuming a decent percentage of fossil fuel, has been II. EXPERIMENTAL METHOD
working on improving the fuel efficiency in past decades. The test was carried out in subsonic wind tunnel (100cm
Electronic vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and human powered x 30cm x 30 cm) as shown in Fig. 1. For performing the
vehicles were developed to pursue a high mileage per liter experiment the model was placed at 15 cm from bottom of
in daily transportations. Besides finding alternative fuel for wind tunnel and pitot tube was at its position to measure
gasoline, engineers are also trying to improve vehicle upstream velocity from front side of model, while
gasoline efficiency by manipulating different parameters anemometer was placed on backside of model to measure
including engine parameters, aerodynamic drag, weight. the downstream velocity. The air was blown at different
Recently automobile fuel economy, emissions, and velocities over the model. By traversing pitot in vertical
recycling has become important social concern . At the directions the variations in the static pressure at different
mean time, automotive industry competition has become nodes were measured. For particular velocity on upstream
more brutal and automotive companies began to put more and downstream sides are calculated and with these the
effort on advanced vehicle design. Engineers believe that drag force is calculated [5].
the automobile should be affordable, yet appealing, safe,
and inexpensive to drive.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2013)
Drag force (Fd)= ƍ.1/2(V2upstream-V2downstream)A……(1) Table 1
Calculation of Drag Force and Drag Coefficient.
m/s m/s N N
3 5.4249 4.35 5.2538 0.0183 0.0188 0.36 0.36 106371
6 7.6720 6.2 10.2100 0.0356 0.0361 0.35 0.35 150432
9 9.3963 7.6 15.2650 0.0533 0.0538 0.35 0.35 184241
12 10.8499 8.8 20.1400 0.0703 0.0703 0.34 0.34 212743
15 12.13 9.85 25.0638 0.0875 0.0875 0.34 0.34 237854
18 13.2883 10.8 29.9700 0.1046 0.1027 0.34 0.33 260556
21 14.3530 11.7 34.5600 0.1207 0.1194 0.34 0.33 281432
24 15.3441 12.55 38.9688 0.1360 0.1343 0.33 0.33 300864
27 16.2748 13.3 43.9900 0.1536 0.1526 0.33 0.33 319114
30 17.1552 14.1 47.7450 0.1667 0.1667 0.32 0.32 336376
33 17.9925 14.8 52.3450 0.1827 0.1812 0.32 0.32 352794
36 18.7926 15.55 55.6788 0.1944 0.1965 0.32 0.32 368481
39 19.5599 16.15 60.8838 0.2126 0.2142 0.32 0.32 383528
42 20.2983 16.85 64.0488 0.2236 0.2230 0.31 0.31 398005

Using equation (1), variation of Fd with air velocity as

shown in Fig.2 and Cd in relation with Reynolds number as
shown in Fig.3 are plotted by using Table.1.
Fig.1 Experimental Set Up

The pitot tube readings were taken at upstream and

velocities at upstream were calculated, as we have got h
from manometer reading. Downstream velocities were
measured by anemometer. Then by using equation (1)
actual drag forces were calculated. Drag coefficients and
Reynolds numbers were calculated as shown in Table 1.

Fig.2 Variation of Drag Force (Fd) with air velocity.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2013)
In meshing, the region of interest need to be divided into
several structure elements using Gambit as software & grid
is generated automatically in 3 dimensional domain with
tetrahedral mesh [4,5]. This is very important stage in CFD
as it affects to the accuracy of results Fig. 5 shows meshed
model Fluid properties are defined.

Fig. 3 Variation of Cd with Reynolds number


In the computational approach data concerning flow Boundary conditions are specified (Fig.6) as inlet
field around the body of SUV is visualized by simulating velocity on the nearest edge and exit pressure at the farthest
the flow condition using Gambit as the pre-processing edge for visualization of flow.
software and fluent as the solver and postprocessor.
CFD codes have three basic elements which divide the
complete analysis of numerical experiment to perform on
the specific geometry. The three basic elements are pre-
processor, solver, postprocessor. The pre-processing stage
of the CFD process involves the following:
Definition of geometry, Meshing, definition of fluid
continuum & boundary conditions.
In pre-processing the geometric model of SUV is created
and saved in the form of .iges file that is input to the
GAMBIT by means of user friendly software (PROE) as
shown in Fig. 4.
Fig.6 Boundary Condition Specification

Numerical solver: The fluent which is numerical solver

is key element of CFD process. The steps involved in this
solving process are usually carried out in following
sequence. Formal integration of governing equation of fluid
flow over all the control volume, conversion of integrated
forms of equations by algebraic equations and then
calculations of algebraic equations by an iterative method.
A 3ddp steady state, incompressible solution of the
Navier-stokes equations is obtained by implementing
turbulent modelling with standard k-Ɛ model using standard
wall functions and second order upwind discretization
scheme. The free stream air velocities for series of test are
varied from 5m/s to 21 m/s, while the exit pressure is set to
Fig. 4 Model of SUV
atmospheric pressure i.e. 1.013bar.[6]

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2013)
Table 2.
Calculation of Fd & Cd
E (Fd) T (Cd)
m/s m/s N
5.4600 4.42 5.1376 0.0179 0.36
7.7200 6.25 10.2680 0.0358 0.34
9.4500 7.66 15.3135 0.0535 0.34
10.9000 8.8 20.6850 0.0722 0.34
Fig. 7 Processing 12.20 9.89 25.5140 0.0891 0.34
Post processing is the last phase of CFD i.e. results and 13.4000 10.89 30.4840 0.1064 0.34
simulation. Contours of velocity and pressure coefficient 14.4000 11.78 34.2958 0.1197 0.33
can be obtained from display option. (Fig. 8, 9) shows it 15.1000 12.29 38.4830 0.1343 0.33
respectively for judging aerodynamic performance of 16.4000 13.4 44.7000 0.1561 0.33
vehicle. 17.2000 14 49.9200 0.1743 0.33
18.1000 14.79 54.4330 0.1900 0.33
18.8000 15.39 58.2940 0.2035 0.33
19.6000 15.9 65.6750 0.2293 0.33
20.4000 16.8 66.9600 0.2338 0.32

Comparison between results obtained by experimental
and computational approach i.e. variation of Cd with
Reynolds Number as shown in Fig.10 and Fd in relation
with air velocity as shown in Fig.11 are plotted by using
Fig. 8 Contours of Velocity

Fig.9 Contours of Pressure coefficient

From Fig. 11, it appears that as air velocity increases the

drag force increases. Fig. 10 revels that initially there is Fig.10 Variation of Cd with Reynolds Number
decrease of drag coefficient and then attainment of constant
value with further increase in Reynolds number.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2013)

Dinesh Dhande Obtained his bachelor’s degree

in Mechanical Engineering from Mumbai
University in 1998 and master’s degree in Design
Engineering from University of Pune in 2004 and
is currently pursuing PhD from University of
Pune. He is presently working as Assistant Professor in AISSMS
College of Engineering Pune in department of Mechanical
Engineering, Pune. His areas of interest include tribology of
bearings, wear & CFD.

Manoj Bauskar Obtained his bachelor’s degree

in Production Engineering from Pune University
in 2004 and pursuing master’s degree in
Fig. 11 Variation of Fd with Air Velocity Automotive Engineering from University of
Pune. His areas of interest include
V. CONCLUSION computational fluid dynamics
The comparison shows that the computed drag forces
matches well with the experimental values over the entire
range of air velocities, however, the agreement with Cd
varies with increase in Reynolds number.
[1] H. Braess Hermann & U. Seiffert, Handbook of Automotive
Engineering,SAE International, Warrendale,SA,2005.
[2] J Kartz, Race Car Aerodynamics:Designinig for speed, Bentley
Publishers, Cambridge, USA,1995.
[3] W. Stapleford, Aerodynamic Improvements to the body and cooling
System of a typical small saloon car, Journal of Wind Engineering
and Industrial Aerodynamics, Vol. 9, 1981 pp. 63-75.
[4] Y. Sun, G. Wu & Xieshuo, Numerical Simulation of the External
Flow Field around Bluff Car, 2000.
[5] E. Nielsen & W. Anderson, Recent Improvements in Aerodynamic
Design Optimization on Unstructured Meshes, AIAA Journal,
vol.40, Nov. 6, 2000, pp.1155-1163
[6] Manan Desai, S.A.Channiwala, H.J. Nagarsheth, “Experimental and
Computational Aerodynamic Investigation of a Car,” in Wseas
Transactions on Fluid Mechanics, vol.3, pp 359-368, Oct. 2008.


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