Comparison of Computational and Experimental Aerodynamics Results for a WMU Solar Car Model 2005-01-1910
Three-dimensional numerical simulations using FLUENT  were performed to model the airflow over the Sunseeker, an award-winning solar car that was designed and built at Western Michigan University. Converged numerical solutions on three different grids are reported and compared with the available experimental data, which include the lift and the drag coefficients. Also reported are the results obtained by using the second-order upwinding discretization on one of the grids. The comparison shows that the computed lift coefficients agree well with the experimental data for all the three grids and the different orders of numerical methods, indicating that the pressure field is well captured. The agreement with the data for drag coefficient varies, which appears to suggest a higher degree of dependency on the grid distributions than that for the lift coefficient. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the simulations of similar low-drag vehicles.