CFD Water Management Design for a Passenger Coach with Correlation 2016-01-8155
Side window clarity and its effect on side mirror visibility plays a major role in driver comfort. Driving in inclement weather conditions such as rain can be stressful, and having optimal visibility under these conditions is ideal. However, extreme conditions can overwhelm exterior water management devices, resulting in rivulets of water flowing over the a-pillar and onto the vehicle’s side glass. Once on the side glass, these rivulets and the pooling of water they feed, can significantly impair the driver’s ability to see the side mirror and to see outwardly when in situations such as changing lanes.
Designing exterior water management features of a vehicle is a challenging exercise, as traditionally, physical testing methods first require a full-scale vehicle for evaluations to be possible. Additionally, common water management devices such as grooves and channels often have undesirable aesthetic, drag, and wind noise implications. Being able to detect water management issues such as A-pillar overflow, as well as to develop strategies to resolve them in parallel with early design cycle exterior aerodynamic development, is highly desirable for this reason. This paper details a collaborative effort where a CFD method is first validated against on road testing and then applied to a design study. The Lattice Boltzmann code based results presented show an excellent correlation with on-road test data. One successive design variants is created, with the design process being driven by the understanding provided by the CFD results.