A Quasi-Unsteady Description of Windscreen Wiper Induced Flow Structures.

A P Gaylard†, A C Wilson† and G S J Bambrook‡ † ‡ Jaguar Land Rover, TASE & Weight and Jaguar Land Rover Research SYNOPSIS This paper draws on full scale wind tunnel flow visualisation and CFD simulation, carried out on a full-sized SUV geometry, to provide a description of windscreen wiper induced flow structures. The focus of this work is the effect of wipers on the local flow, rather than the more usual consideration of the aerodynamic forces exerted on the wipers. The flow structure was analysed for a series of fixed wiper arm orientations, as well as a bare windscreen (no wipers) reference case. This enabled the identification of a number of coherent vortex structures. Evidence is also presented which indicates that these structures are present in other vehicle types. Further, the vortex structures associated with the wiper blade and arm are seen to convect downstream, maintaining their coherence well onto the vehicle roof. It is suggested that during a dynamic wiper cycle these vortex structures are swept over the screen and roof. This raises the possibility of aeroacoustic sources remote from the wiper system location as well as interactions with open sunroofs. 1. INTRODUCTION

The presence of windscreen wipers is, of course, essential for the maintenance of forward vision during adverse weather conditions. It is also the case that they are aerodynamically active components, both subject to aerodynamic loading and a source of aeroacoustic noise. Initial consideration of wiper aerodynamics was mainly concerned with the forces experienced by the wiper system and ensuring that they did not degrade wiper function to an unacceptable degree [1,2]. Latterly they have been considered as an aeroacoustic source [3]; the precise mechanism of noise generation subjected to scrutiny by fundamental numerical and experimental investigations [4]. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the characteristic vortex structures generally associated with current wiper systems, by reference to previously published work, surface flow visualisation and numerical simulation. 2. 2.1 PREVIOUS STUDIES Review

Previous studies have looked at the important issue of maintaining an acceptable wiper performance in the presence of aerodynamic lifting forces acting on the arm and blade [5,6].

Their motivation was increasing vehicle speeds and the advent of "wrap-around" windscreens. Reduced scale water tank experiments (1/20th) were used to survey the flow structure over the screen of four different vehicles. effectively a test wiper mounted in the collector of a wind tunnel. along with some other. This work focused on validating the simulation technique for the prediction of both wiper drag and lift forces. less practical. observation that the passenger's side wiper arm tended to be parallel to the onset flow. The relationship between its angle to a perpendicular onset flow and wiper lift force was investigated for a fixed speed. Finally. A "wiper blade wind tunnel" was used to generate this data. Dawley [2]. now typical. The use of a spoiler formed from a continuous arcuate aerofoil section was investigated. whereas the driver's side wiper tends to be perpendicular to the onset flow. This demonstrated that a practical wiper-mounted aerofoil could be used to generate negative lift (referred to as "antilift" and now more commonly as "downforce". The main focus of this work was to understand the aerodynamic mechanisms underlying "water blow back" [sic]. They were able to demonstrate both the typical radial flow pattern seen on windscreens and flow acceleration due to screen curvature. A single wiper blade and arm were modeled mounted on a flat plane and perpendicular to a uniform onset flow. for example. in a review of aerodynamic effects on automotive components. CFD models have been used to provide both quantitative and qualitative evaluations of wiper performance. The author made the. representing the bonnet and windscreen of a car. The work considered the influence of vehicle geometry. Jallet et al [5] also provided a numerical simulation of wiper system aerodynamic behaviour. tests were carried out on a half scale test rig. ideas. The use of an aerofoil to produce "anti-lift [sic] properties" was suggested. This work again demonstrated the typical radial flow over an unobstructed windscreen. Strumolo et al [8]. elucidated the flow pattern and pressure distribution over a 3/8th scale model of a two door hard top vehicle. constructed a CFD model of a simplified 3-box saloon that included a wiper system in the parked position and a "leaf screen cavity" (cowl).) Some fundamental work has been undertaken to determine the basic relationships between wiper geometry and aerodynamic forces. Two different wiper blade designs were evaluated. provided insight into the relationship between the lift and drag forces acting on a wiper blade and the tilt angle of the blade with respect to the screen. Latterly. The . along with the size and shape of the screen.In an early study Clarke and Lumley [1] provided a comprehensive survey of the problems associated with windscreen wiper operation. Further. for instance. Barth [7]. wiper arm pressure was measured both at full scale and on a wiper mounted in a rectangular duct. both with and without a spoiler. at least through a significant (perhaps considerable) portion of its travel.

This comprised a recirculation in front of the blade with a region of separated flow behind it. The simulations of Stromolo et al [8] showed a time-averaged flow pattern with three recirculation regions (trapped vortices) around the wiper arm and blades. Again.calculated drag and lift forces were seen to compare reasonably well with experiment (Differences of 1%-7% for drag and 2%-9% for lift with an onset flow of 40m/s). due to interactions with flow through and over various small geometric features. supported by CFD simulation. This work showed substantial lateral variation of the downstream vortex. Thus the authors were able to determine the effect of aerodynamic lift on the net pressure applied by the wiper blade. ) 2. The paper by Sanon and Jallet [3] contains experimental and computational flow visualisation for a mid-wipe (30° configuration. For instance. The lateral (spanwise) variation in these structures caused by the stacked blade/arm elements is also evident. Sanon and Jallet [3] examined windscreen wipers as a local aeroacoustic noise source. rather than the coherent trapped vortex evident in later work. Taking slices through the trapped vortices (ii) and (iii) reveals a flow structure with some similarities to that suggested by Dawley [2]. The simulations of Jallet et al [5] showed both of the trapped vortices upstream and downstream of the wiper blade/arm along with a wake. with and without a spoiler. This was done by wind tunnel and road based test work. Dawley [2] proposed a two-dimensional view of the flow structure over a wiper blade and spoiler.2 Flow Topology The work reviewed here also provides insights into the local flow structure around the wiper systems. The ) downstream arm/blade vortex is clearly present along with the wake. mechanical distortion of the blade/arm under the spring load was calculated by an FE program prior to the aerodynamic simulation. (i) Leaf screen cavity (cowl). The ). It should be noted though that Dawley's two-dimensional reconstruction shows a turbulent separated zone downstream of the blade. along its length. The results of the aerodynamic simulation were then fed back into the FE model. Billot et al [6] took this validated computational methodology and applied it to a wiper system at a mid-wipe position (30° installed on a realistic car geometry. (iii) Downstream of the blade/arm. at least upstream of the wiper blade. Moving away from purely aerodynamic wiper performance considerations. realistic car geometry was used with the wipers fixed at a midwipe (30° position. to the windscreen. . (ii) Upstream of the blade/arm.

degrading wiper performance. the wiper moves with the prevailing flow. These are summarised in Table 1(below). To sweep the blade across the screen the motor must overcome both surface friction and aerodynamic drag. Further. Thus the curvature of the wiper blade/arm system changes dynamically. The CFD model is similarly static and does not include the change in blade angle with respect to the screen seen between the up-sweep and down-sweep. As the wipers sweep across the windscreen the blade and arm orientation to the flow changes dynamically. as the flow over the windscreen is largely radial. to provide a comprehensive qualitative description of the flow structures induced by typical wiper systems. These do not include cantilever elements. along with some CFD simulations. the wiper geometry has been adjusted and morphed to match the screen profile. The aerodynamic loads also vary with onset flow velocity. SIMPLIFYING ASSUMPTIONS Having reviewed the complexities of wiper aerodynamics it is understandable that the work published to date uses a range of simplifying assumptions. "Beam Blade" designs have become popular. Recently. on the driver's side. The aerodynamics and mechanics of wiper systems is complex. However. WIPER LOADS AND DYNAMICS In common with the published literature. Additionally. . the angle of the blade to the screen surface is different on the up-sweep and down-sweep. This force is opposed by a spring mounted in the wiper arm which pulls the arm towards the screen applying a load onto the blade. adding in additional data.This paper seeks to build on these observations. many wiper designs have included cantilevers to transfer the load from the arm out laterally along the blade. the wiper sweep is represented by considering fixed positions on the windscreen. but cannot deform as a result of the aerodynamic load. In the experimental work. 3. this paper neglects the dynamic aspect of wiper performance. on the down-sweep it moves against it. it is important to briefly review the complexities of both wiper dynamics and the time-varying aerodynamic forces that they are subjected to. During the upsweep. Aerodynamic lift forces can tend to pull the blade away from the screen. the wiper is almost perpendicular to the main flow through most of the sweep. Thus the relative movement between the wiper and onset flow is not captured. The work reported in this paper uses similar simplifying assumptions. Finally. Typically. Thus both the aerodynamic drag and lift forces on the wiper system (predominantly the blade and arm) vary substantially during the wiper sweep. the blade is designed to conform to the contours of the windscreen as it sweeps over the surface. This is done by reference to surface flow visualisation obtained in a full scale wind tunnel. on the driver's side. so the spring load is applied at the centre of the blade only. Historically. 4.

The empty tunnel has a background turbulence intensity of 1. First.4m (H) by 7. this quasi-unsteady investigation is based on detailed vehicle and wiper system geometry.8% and a 200mm characteristic length [9].However. 5. Its four fans are able to develop a maximum flow velocity of 130 km/h.1 SIMULATION Wind Tunnel Experiments The experiments were performed in the MIRA Full Scale Wind Tunnel. Reference Authors Clarke Dawley Sanon Fischer Jallet Billot Barth Strumolo Simplifying et al et al et al and and and Assumption Lumley Jallet Zuccini Reference Number in Text [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Experiment/CFD Y/N Y/N Y/Y Y/Y Y/Y Y/Y Y/N N/Y TwoN N* N N** N N N N Dimensional Fixed Wiper Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Position Flat Inclined Screen (No N N N Y N N N N Vehicle) Flat Horizontal Screen (No N Y Y N Y N Y N Vehicle) Normal Onset Y Y Y N Y N Y N Flow Part vehicle Y N N N N N N N Simplified N N N N N N N Y Vehicle Realistic Vehicle Y N N Y/N N N Deformable Y Y Y/N Y/N Y/N Y n/a N Wiper *Three-dimensional experiment with two-dimensional flow structure proposed **Geometry invariant laterally with finite width Test rig comprised bonnet and screen. This is a closed test section. Table 1 Simplifying Assumptions Made In Previous Work. The following sections use the results of both experiment and CFD simulation to illustrate the wiper induced flow structures seen on a full sized SUV. . Full scale and model scale (water tunnel) tests carried out also.9m (W) test section. the experiments and CFD simulations are described. open return facility with a 4. 5.

Contour plots of vorticity magnitude ( ( ×u) on a vertical plane through the roof header.03 6. to capture the off-surface flow structures. in theory. Around the windscreen and wipers the smallest volume element (voxel) has a characteristic dimension of 1. Vortex core detection using closed iso-surfaces of the λ2 parameter. Time-averaged surface flow visualisation patterns were obtained using a proprietary UV fluorescent dye suspended in white spirit. λ2 < 0 implies a vortex core.) th † ‡ Freed.13]. Dated 12th July 2006. Onset-flow conditions have been matched to MIRA FSWT. (This is the second largest eigenvalue of the symmetric tensor S2+Ω2.39 6. in practice a larger negative value is required to provide meaningful detection. enabling the identification of regions of high vorticity.. No local measurements are provided to indicate its reliability. Simulation Parameter No. Jeong and Hussain [14] proposed this approach and demonstrated that λ2 is negative in vortex cores.187 0. where S and Ω Ω are the symmetric and antisymmetric parts of the velocity gradient tensor ∇u.187 4. vortex core detection was improved by using the final data frame of the calculation (averaged over 2000 time steps).‡. The CFD model represents a fully-detailed full sized SUV with closed-cooling intakes.1mm. to facilitate direct surface flow structure comparison with the wind tunnel experiments. However. running the wind tunnel for a period of 5-10 minutes. It is presented here as indicative flow visualisation. • • • • Surface streamlines.The flow visualisation data presented in this paper were obtained by testing either production level vehicles or aerodynamics simulators (buck) at zero yaw with a nominal test speed of 100 km/h. Zaehring. E.05 6. 5.11] and aeroacoustics simulation [12.528 4. the CFD tool that has been used (Exa PowerFLOW™) has been previously validated for both aerodynamics [10. Dated 12 July 2006.s Averaging Period /s Reynolds Number /106 Bare Screen 42. However. thus a value of -200 was selected for this work†. rather than an average over the complete simulation period. Flow streamlines. Therefore. In addition. Surface Elements /106 Time Step Length /106 .03 Table 2 Basic Details for the CFD (PowerFLOW™) Simulations The CFD simulations have been interrogated to provide the following insights into the flow structure.187 0. Letter to author. . Letter to author. D.187 0. M. A physical interpretation of λ2 is that it identifies vortex cores as pressure minima due purely to vortical motion.387 4.2 CFD Simulation Further insight into the flow structures of interest is provided by CFD simulation.03 Parked 108 14. Volume Elements /106 No.03 Mid-Wipe 6.

Some of the additional field data available in the numerical simulation is presented in Figures 3 and 4. Vorticity in both the boundary layer and a-pillar vortex is evident. Both of these show the vorticity present in the plane of the roof header. This can be clearly seen in the surface flow visualisation presented in Figure 1. The lower part of the screen also shows the influence of a trapped lateral (“cowl”) vortex. . Shear layer reattachment line Figure 1 Surface Flow Visualisation On A Bare Windscreen. The CFD simulation shows the same surface flow features (Figure 2). The shear layer reattachment line is clearly visible.1 FLOW STRUCTURES Bare Windscreen – No Wipers. Figure 2 Surface Streamlines On A Bare Windscreen. 6. along with the reversed flow region associated with this trapped vortex. In the absence of the disruption caused by the presence of the windscreen wipers the flow over a typical automotive windscreen is largely radial.6.

in their parked position.2 Parked Wipers Introducing windscreen wipers. 6. clearly disrupts a region of the previously radial flow (Figure 5).Figure 4 attempts to provide detection of the vortex cores present in the flow via isosurfaces of λ2. The surface flow visualisation clearly shows a . Red: Reattaching Shear Layer And Attached Flow) On A Bare Windscreen. This metric also seems to be sensitive to vorticity in the a-pillar and roof header boundary layers. Figure 3 Flow Streamlines (Blue: Cowl Vortex. Multiple vortex cores are evident within the cowl region. Figure 4 Iso-Surfaces Of λ2 On A Bare Windscreen. A small trapped vortex is also seen at the front of the roof header. caused by the forward facing step formed by the windscreen glazing inset.

the latter forming the wiper/arm wake. i. More detailed insights into the flow structure are provided by the CFD simulation.e. Figure 6 shows a near-wiper flow structure similar to that described by Stromolo et al [8]. a cowl vortex along with vortices upstream and downstream of the wiper blade/arm. . The flow streamlines shown in Figure 7 show some fluid being drawn from behind the wiper arm by entrainment into the cowl vortex. Figure 5 Surface Flow Visualisation On A Windscreen With Parked Wipers. Figure 6 Surface Streamlines On A Windscreen With Parked Wipers. However. The vortex core plot (Figure 8) confirms this assessment.region of separated flow consistent with the blade/arm wake. the reduced energy in the flow downstream of the arm/blade has reduced the effectiveness of the flow visualisation technique. Some disruption of the vortices upstream of the blade and arm by the lower arm on the driver's wiper system (B) is also evident.

(Blue: Cowl And Windward Wiper Vortex. 6. Green: Leeside Wiper Vortex.3 Mid-Wipe Moving the wipers to a mid-wipe position changes the orientation and position of some of the vortex structures previously identified. Figure 9 shows that the vortices on either side of the wiper blade/arm now convect downstream over the roof header (A).B Figure 7 Flow Streamlines Over A Windscreen With Parked Wipers. Red: Reattaching Shear Layer And Attached Flow). . B Figure 8 Iso-Surfaces Of λ2 Over A Windscreen With Parked Wipers. The vortex upstream of the driver's side wiper arm/blade is very clearly seen (ii).

A A (iii) C D (i) Figure 10 Surface Streamlines On A Windscreen With Wipers At The Mid-Wipe Position. The arm/blade vortices. Figure 10 provides a very clear visualisation of the cowl vortex (i) and downstream wiper blade/arm vortices (iii). the upstream vortex (ii) is not seen in the simulation. This could give rise to an aeroacoustic noise source relatively remote from the wiper system. (However.A A (iii) C D (ii) B Figure 9 Surface Flow Visualisation On A Windscreen With Wipers At The MidWipe Position. The downstream convection of the arm/blade vortices is shown very clearly in Figures 11 and 12. An additional (though less coherent) vortex structure is generated by the driver's side knuckle (iv). (ii) and (iii) clearly convect downstream off the screen and over the roof header (A). Vorticity peaks are seen over the roof header that correlate with the rotating fluid shown by the flow streamlines and the vortex cores highlighted by the λ2 plot. .) The contributions of the wiper knuckle (C) and blade/arm gap (D) to the driver's side wiper system wake are also evident. likely due to limitations imposed by the spatial resolution of the CFD model.

surface flow visualisation is presented in for five fixed positions representing a complete wipe cycle is presented in Figure 13. 6.4 Complete Sweep Having explored the relevant flow structures in some detail experimental. (If wiper movement were considered this would only represent a half cycle.) . Red: Reattaching Shear Layer And Attached Flow). Figure 12 Iso-Surfaces Of λ2 Over A Windscreen With Wipers At Mid-Wipe (Zero Degrees Yaw). Green: Leeside Wiper Vortex.A (ii) (iii) (ii) A (iv) (iii) C D (i) (i) Figure 11 Flow Streamlines Over A Windscreen With Wipers At The Mid-Wipe Position. (Blue: Cowl And Windward Wiper Vortex.

In addtion. 30 degrees. Hence they perturb the flow more strongly. the angle of the passenger's side wiper system to the local flow results in relatively little disruption of the flow over the screen. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Parked. for part of the wipe the driver's wiper arm knuckle generates a wake (b) (c) (d) (e) Figure 13 Five Fixed Wiper Positions . (ii) and (iii). persist over most of the wipe cycle and. (a) As has been frequently observed. are repeatedly swept over the screen and roof. vortices still form parallel to the blade and arm on the upstream and downstream sides. Coherent upstream and downstream vortices form along the blade/arm which convect downstream. However. End of wipe.The individual images follow the sequence below. The driver's side arm and blade spend much of the sweep cycle nearly perpendicular to the local onset flow. convecting downstream. Passenger's side wiper at 90 degrees. The lower arm (close to the spindle) also provides a limited amount of local flow distrubance. Mid-wipe. A quasi-unsteady interpretation of these images suggests that the wiper blade/arm vortices.

It is asserted that (ii) and (iii) are swept laterally across the screen and roof during wipe cycles. with (iv) being present for a part thereof. In particular. Of course. These observations indicate that the description presented is reasonably general. the relative size and strength of the structures may well vary with screen rake and wiper system design. upstream wiper arm/blade vortex. raising the possibility of an interaction between these vortices and open sunroofs. the cowl vortex (i) remains in a fixed postion. (a) (b) Figure 14 Surface Flow Visualisation On The Windscreen Of A Luxury Saloon (a) And Sports Car (b).vortex (iv) which is swept over the screen and roof. However. downstream wiper arm/blade vortex. the convection of the arm/blade vortices over the roof header onto the roof is very clear in both cases. Finally. In the case of the luxury saloon (a) they pass over the closed sunroof opening. driver's side knuckle wake vortex. Although there are many small features associated with the geometric complexity of these systems. 8 CONCLUSIONS A description of the flow topology associated with windscreen wiper systems has been proposed. the authors freely . 7 OBSERVATIONS FOR OTHER VEHICLES The flow structures described for this particular SUV geometry are commonly seen for other. The main elements in the flow structure are: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) cowl vortex. With The Wipers At Mid-Wipe. vehicles. very different. though when the wiper system approaches the parked position there is interaction between the cowl vortex and wiper arm/blade vortices. shows the wiper-induced flow structure for a luxury saloon (a) and sports car (b). Figure 14. for example. large coherent vortex structures can be identified.

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