For the automotive industry, the quality and level of the wind noise contribution has a growing importance and therefore should be addressed as early as possible in the development process. Each component of the vehicle is designed to meet its individual noise target to ensure the wind noise passenger comfort level inside the vehicle is met. Sunroof broadband noise is generated by the turbulent flow developed over the roof opening. A strong shear layer and vortices impacting on the trailing edge of the sunroof are typical mechanisms related to the noise production. Sunroof designs are tested to meet broadband noise targets. Experimentally testing designs and making changes to meet these design targets typically involves high cost prototypes, expensive wind tunnel sessions and potentially late design changes. To reduce the associated costs as well as development times, there is strong motivation for the use of a reliable numerical prediction capability early in the vehicle design process.
Previous investigations have shown the possibility to use transient CFD/CAA simulations based on Lattice Boltzmann Methods to assess the wind noise performance of mirrors, wipers, underbody designs and buffeting performance of sunroofs and open side windows. This paper presents the use of this computational approach on two production vehicles to assess the broadband noise generated by a fully open sunroof. Computational predictions of mesh deflectors as well as yaw effect were validated against wind tunnel measurements. Also, detailed flow analysis was performed to understand the noise generation mechanisms and to explain the effect of the mesh deflector and flow yaw angle on the interior noise. Accurate prediction of the wind noise performance of the sunroof and the insight provided by the flow analysis proves that this computational approach can be used to make design decisions during the vehicle development process.