Characterisation of the Tyre Spray Ejected Downstream of a Bluff Automotive Body 2022-01-0893
Considerations of surface contamination and airborne spray are becoming increasingly significant throughout the automotive design process. Advanced driver assistance systems, such as autonomous cruise control, are growing in popularity. These systems rely on external sensors, the performance of which may be impaired by both direct obstruction and spray. Existing experimental methods of assessing front-end surface contamination and wiper performance have typically utilised fixed spray-grids positioned upstream of the vehicle. The resulting spray is largely steady in nature, in contrast to the unsteady flow-field and tyre spray that would be produced by preceding vehicles. This paper presents the numerical analysis of the spray ejected downstream of a simplified automotive body. The continuous phase (air) is solved using a DDES-based approach coupled with a Lagrangian representation of the dispersed phase (water). Two configurations are examined, a square-back configuration and a variation employing 20° rear-end side tapers. The inclusion of side tapering results in a significant change in wake topology and the resulting spray cloud. Good agreement is achieved between initial single-phase predictions of the continuous phase and existing experimental data. The spray cloud of both configurations is found to be highly unsteady, driven by vortical structures in the near- and far-wake, and is altered significantly by what are relatively minor changes to the geometry. Proper Orthogonal Decomposition reveals comparable spatial modes in the mass flux field of the dispersed phase and the continuous phase velocity field downstream of the vehicle. However, the correlation between the temporal coefficients of these modes is relatively weak. This highlights the presence of slip effects between the two phases, coming as a result of particle inertia, and the need to consider both phases simultaneously in future studies of spray dynamics.