1998-02-23

Automobile Exterior Water Flow Analysis Using CFD and Wind Tunnel Visualization 980035

ABSTRACT

This paper presents an innovative automobile application of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as a complement to wind tunnel experimentation for the evaluation of rain water and wiper wash flow on the exterior of a moving vehicle. In addition to calculating the air flow around a car, a multi-phase CFD code was used to simulate rain drops in the air stream, rain drops impinging on the vehicle, and the transport of the “thin liquid film” of water on the vehicle surfaces. Time-dependent results for the location, velocity, and height of the water film on the windshield, A-pillar, and side glass were obtained.

The CFD results compared favorably with a wind tunnel procedure. The variation of the calculated water film corresponded with observed patterns of water streaks on test vehicles. Design iterations performed on the computational model also agreed with similar test configurations. It is concluded that numerical simulation of water behavior on automobile surfaces is feasible, and the CFD technique is a practical tool to aide engineers in the visualization, analysis, and design of water management systems.

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