A CFD-FEM Approach to Study Wing Aerodynamics under Deformation 2004-01-0444
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) surely has played a fundamental role in the design of the bodies and shapes of both commercial and racing vehicles in the last decades. This circumstance was mainly due to the connected substantial improvement in the design timings and to the possibility of producing numerous flow field and surface data that are difficult to obtain from a physical experimental method. Such a local analysis leads to a further understanding of the interactions of components with the overall aerodynamics.
The development of wing performances, with respect to racing vehicles, has to deal with very short times but also with a very detailed description of the physics occurring. Starting from these constraints, a coupling procedure was developed by the joining of a CFD code with a Finite Element Method (FEM) structural code to better evaluate the aerodynamic performance of the wing deformed under the fluid dynamic loads. Combined with experimental data, these insights allow a better understanding of the involved flow mechanisms
The codes coupling has been managed as it follows: the fluid dynamic pressure loads have been passed to the structural solver. The output, in terms of airfoil deformation, has been re-imported into the CFD solver in order to compute the updated fluid dynamic field. These steps have to be repeated till the reaching of the convergence of the fluid dynamic and deformation fields. The final result consists of the fluid dynamic field around the deformed configuration of the wing.
The described procedure has been applied to a standard racing vehicle front wing, which was tested under different operating conditions in terms of vehicle speed and angle of attack. Results obtained are encouraging and suggest to further investigate the possibilities offered by this procedure.