Rapid design of a SUV by combining wind tunnel development and simulations

Paper #:
  • 2018-01-0712

Published:
  • 2018-04-03
Abstract:
While wind tunnels often serve as the standard tool for aerodynamic development of vehicles they do not routinely and feasibly offer much information into the fundamental fluid structures in and around the vehicle. It is up to the insight and experience of the aerodynamicist to determine what flow features are present and suggest improvements to the geometry. This is one of the reasons that the aerodynamic development of a vehicle can become a long iterative process. One tool for gaining more information about the flow is computational fluid dynamics simulations but these methods are not infallible. By combining the fluid behavior gained from CFD with the trusted force measurement from wind tunnel experiments throughout the design process it is possible to reduce the time total time of a development project. Discussed present is an example case for a SUV. Through a combined use of transient and adjoint optimization simulations key areas for improvement were identified and studied. From these results parts for wind tunnel testing were identified and tested. With a single day of wind tunnel testing improvements were made to the vehicle to reduce the drag beyond the desired improvement. Furthermore an additional round of CFD testing of the improvements showed good agreement with the wind tunnel results.
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