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Journal Article

Progress in Aeroacoustic and Climatic Wind Tunnels for Automotive Wind Noise and Acoustic Testing

There has been significant progress in developing test facilities for automotive wind noise and automotive components since the early 1990s. The test technology is critical to the development of modern vehicles, and essentially every major automotive manufacturer owns and operates their own aeroacoustic wind tunnel, or has rental access to one and conducts a significant amount of wind noise testing. The current status for climatic wind tunnels is that many new CWTs are being defined with acoustic test requirements. These test capabilities in AAWTs and CWTs will continue to enable the development of vehicles with better wind noise attributes, fewer problems with sunroof ‘booming’, and lower noise levels for HVAC and auxiliary systems. In the future, it is expected that the test demand for AAWTs and CWTs with low acoustic background noise will continue to increase as customers expect better automotive products, especially across more of the product line.
Journal Article

Application of Helmholtz Resonators in Open Jet Wind Tunnels

Low frequency pressure oscillations in open jet wind tunnels are produced by vortices shed from the nozzle exit coupled with several feedback mechanisms in the circuit. These undesired pressure fluctuations can cause structural vibrations, reduction of flow quality, and delays in delivery of newly-built wind tunnels. One effective method to mitigate this problem is incorporation of Helmholtz resonators in the wind tunnel circuit. In this paper important factors in the design of Helmholtz resonators for open jet wind tunnels are described and a specific design procedure is outlined. Finally, successful design and installation of Helmholtz resonators in several modern open jet wind tunnels is reported.
Technical Paper

The BMW AVZ Wind Tunnel Center

The new BMW Aerodynamisches Versuchszentrum (AVZ) wind tunnel center includes a full-scale wind tunnel, "The BMW Windkanal" and an aerodynamic laboratory "The BMW AEROLAB." The AVZ facility incorporates numerous new technology features that provide design engineers with new tools for aerodynamic optimization of vehicles. The AVZ features a single-belt rolling road in the AEROLAB and a five-belt rolling road in the Windkanal for underbody aerodynamic simulation. Each of these rolling road types has distinct advantages, and BMW will leverage the advantages of each system. The AEROLAB features two overhead traverses that can be configured to study vehicle drafting, and both static and dynamic passing maneuvers. To accurately simulate "on-road" aerodynamic forces, a novel collector/flow stabilizer was developed that produces a very flat axial static pressure distribution. The flat static pressure distribution represents a significant improvement relative to other open jet wind tunnels.
Technical Paper

The New BMW Climatic Testing Complex - The Energy and Environment Test Centre

The Energy and Environment Test Centre (EVZ) is a complex comprising three large climatic wind tunnels, two smaller test chambers, nine soak rooms and support infrastructure. The capabilities of the wind tunnels and chambers are varied, and as a whole give BMW the ability to test at practically all conditions experienced by their vehicles, worldwide. The three wind tunnels have been designed for differing test capabilities, but share the same air circuit design, which has been optimized for energy consumption yet is compact for its large, 8.4 m₂, nozzle cross-section. The wind tunnel test section was designed to meet demanding aerodynamic specifications, including a limit on the axial static pressure gradient and low frequency static pressure fluctuations - design parameters previously reserved for larger aerodynamic or aero-acoustic wind tunnels. The aerodynamic design was achieved, in-part, by use of computational fluid dynamics and a purpose-built model wind tunnel.
Journal Article

The Honda R&D Americas Scale Model Wind Tunnel

This paper describes the new Honda R&D Americas Scale Model Wind Tunnel (SWT). To help address Honda's ongoing need to improve fuel economy, reduce the driving force of a vehicle, and decrease product development time, the wind tunnel was developed and implemented to achieve high accuracy aerodynamic predictions for product development and a significantly improved capability for vehicle aerodynamics research. The SWT can accommodate model scales up to 50%. The ¾-open jet test section has a top speed of 250 km/h, a 5-belt moving ground plane with a long center belt for proper wake simulation, a test section designed specifically for very low static pressure gradient, three separate dynamic pressure measurement systems for state-of-the-art blockage corrections, and an overhead traverse for specialized measurement activities. This paper describes the decision process that led to the SWT, key commissioning results, and performance validation results with models installed.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigations and Computations of Unsteady Flow Past a Real Car Using a Robust Elliptic Relaxation Closure with a Universal Wall Treatment

In the present work we investigated experimentally and computationally the unsteady flow around a BMW car model including wheels*. This simulation yields mean flow and turbulence fields, enabling the study aerodynamic coefficients (drag and lift coefficients, three-dimensional/spatial wall-pressure distribution) as well as some unsteady flow phenomena in the car wake (analysis of the vortex shedding frequency). Comparisons with experimental findings are presented. The computational approach used is based on solving the complete transient Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (TRANS) equations. Special attention is devoted to turbulence modelling and the near-wall treatment of turbulence. The flow calculations were performed using a robust, eddy-viscosity-based ζ - ƒ turbulence model in the framework of the elliptic relaxation concept and in conjunction with the universal wall treatment, combining integration up to the wall and wall functions.
Journal Article

Scania’s New CD7 Climatic Wind Tunnel Facility for Heavy Trucks and Buses

Scania AB has opened the new CD7 climatic wind tunnel test facility, located at the Scania Technical Center in Södertälje, Sweden. This facility is designed for product development testing of heavy trucks and buses in a range of controllable environments. Having this unique test environment at the main development center enables Scania to test its vehicles in a controlled repeatable environment year round, improving lead times from design to production, producing higher quality and more reliable vehicles, and significantly improves the capability for large vehicle performance research. This state-of-the-art facility provides environmental conditions from -35°C to 50°C with humidity control from 5 to 95 percent. The 13 m2 nozzle wind tunnel can produce wind speeds up to 100 km/h. The dynamometer is rated at 800 kW for the rear axle and 150 kW for the front axle, which also has ±10° yaw capability.
Technical Paper

Influence of Plenum Dimensions on Drag Measurements in 3/4-Open-Jet Automotive Wind Tunnels

The size of the room surrounding the wind tunnel test section, the so called wind tunnel plenum, is always seen as an important parameter of the wind tunnel building, but has rarely been the subject of systematic investigation regarding minimal requirements to meet quality objectives for aerodynamic testing. Experimental investigations of this object were made in a quarter-scale wind tunnel (nozzle area 1.4m2). The plenum dimensions were changeable by combinations of different side wall and ceiling positions. The results have shown, that the plenum can have a significant effect on the flow around the vehicle and therefore on the measured forces. Drag coefficient is under prediced if the wind tunnel plenum is too small. Recommendations are provided for the geometric dimensions of a wind tunnel plenum. The data obtained are a valuable tool for the layout of wind tunnel design concepts and for the evaluation of interference free wind tunnel simulation.
Technical Paper

Prediction of Flow-Induced Vibration of Vehicle Side-View Mirrors by CFD Simulation

Unsteady flow over automotive side-view mirrors may cause flow-induced vibrations of the mirror assembly which can result in blurred rear-view images, adversely affecting marketability through customer comfort and quality perception. Prior research has identified two mechanisms by which aerodynamically induced vibrations are introduced in the mirror. The first mechanism is unsteady pressure loading on the mirror face due to the unsteady wake, causing direct vibration of the mirror glass. The second mechanism, and the focus of this study, is a fluctuating loading on the mirror housing caused by an unsteady separation zone on the outer portion of the housing. A time-dependent Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methodology was developed to correctly model mirror wake behavior, and thereby predict flow-induced mirror vibration to improve performance estimations.
Journal Article

Comparison of Computational Simulation of Automotive Spinning Wheel Flow Field with Full Width Moving Belt Wind Tunnel Results

One of the remaining challenges in the simulation of the aerodynamics of ground vehicles is the modeling of the airflows around the spinning tires and wheels of the vehicle. As in most advances in the development of simulation capabilities, it is the lack of appropriately detailed and accurate experimental data with which to correlate that holds back the advance of the technology. The flow around the wheels and tires and their interfaces with the vehicle body and the ground is a critical area for the development of automobiles and trucks, not just for aerodynamic forces and moments, and their result on fuel economy and vehicle handling and performance, but also for the airflows and pressures that affect brake cooling, engine cooling airflows, water spray management etc.
Journal Article

Lockheed Martin Low-Speed Wind Tunnel Acoustic Upgrade

The Lockheed Martin Low-Speed Wind Tunnel (LSWT) is a closed-return wind tunnel with two solid-wall test sections. This facility originally entered into service in 1967 for aerodynamic research of aircraft in low-speed and vertical/short take-off and landing (V/STOL) flight. Since this time, the client base has evolved to include a significant level of automotive aerodynamic testing, and the needs of the automotive clientele have progressed to include acoustic testing capability. The LSWT was therefore acoustically upgraded in 2016 to reduce background noise levels and to minimize acoustic reflections within the low-speed test section (LSTS). The acoustic upgrade involved detailed analysis, design, specification, and installation of acoustically treated wall surfaces and turning vanes in the circuit as well as low self-noise acoustic wall and ceiling treatment in the solid-wall LSTS.
Journal Article

General Motors’ New Reduced Scale Wind Tunnel Center

The General Motors Reduced Scale Wind Tunnel Facility, which came into operation in the fall of 2015, is a new state-of-the-art scale model aerodynamic test facility that expands GM’s test capabilities. The new facility also increases GM’s aerodynamic testing through-put and provides the resources needed to achieve the growing demand for higher fuel economy requirements for next generation of vehicles. The wind tunnel was designed for a nominal model scale of 40%. The nozzle and test section were sized to keep wind tunnel interference effects to a minimum. Flow quality and other wind tunnel performance parameters are on par with or better than the latest industry standards. A 5-belt system with a long center belt and boundary layer suction and blowing system are used to model underbody flow conditions. An overhead probe traverse system is installed in the test section along with a model positioning robot used to move the model in an out of the test section.
Technical Paper

A Two-Measurement Correction for the Effects of a Pressure Gradient on Automotive, Open-Jet, Wind Tunnel Measurements

This paper provides a method that corrects errors induced by the empty-tunnel pressure distribution in the aerodynamic forces and moments measured on an automobile in a wind tunnel. The errors are a result of wake distortion caused by the gradient in pressure over the wake. The method is applicable to open-jet and closed-wall wind tunnels. However, the primary focus is on the open tunnel because its short test-section length commonly results in this wake interference. The work is a continuation of a previous paper [4] that treated drag only at zero yaw angle. The current paper extends the correction to the remaining forces, moments and model surface pressures at all yaw angles. It is shown that the use of a second measurement in the wind tunnel, made with a perturbed pressure distribution, provides sufficient information for an accurate correction. The perturbation in pressure distribution can be achieved by extending flaps into the collector flow.
Journal Article

The Windshear Rolling Road Wind Tunnel

The Windshear Rolling Road Wind Tunnel in Concord, North Carolina, is a full-scale commercial wind tunnel conceived primarily as a facility to serve the various motorsports communities, although it has already expanded beyond that base into production car and truck testing. The wind tunnel is a 3/4-open-jet, closed-return design with a 16.7 m₂ nozzle, a wide-belt moving ground plane, and a top speed of 80 m/s (180 mph). This paper describes the project history and design philosophy of the wind tunnel, commissioning results, and an overview of the force measurement methods on the wide-belt rolling road. Some results of a recently completed correlation program are presented, along with performance validation results that include repeatability and reproducibility as well as an assessment of boundary corrections.
Journal Article

Practical Implementation of the Two-Measurement Correction Method in Automotive Wind Tunnels

In recent years, there has been renewed attention focused on open jet correction methods, in particular on the two-measurement method of E. Mercker, K. Cooper, and co-workers. This method accounts for blockage and static pressure gradient effects in automotive wind tunnels and has been shown by both computations and experiments to appropriately adjust drag coefficients towards an on-road condition, thus allowing results from different wind tunnels to be compared on a more equitable basis. However, most wind tunnels have yet to adopt the method as standard practice due to difficulties in practical application. In particular, it is necessary to measure the aerodynamic forces on every vehicle configuration in two different static pressure gradients to capture that portion of the correction. Building on earlier proof-of-concept work, this paper demonstrates a practical method for implementing the two-measurement procedure and demonstrates how it can be used for production testing.
Technical Paper

A Correlation Study between the Full Scale Wind Tunnels of Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors

A correlation of aerodynamic wind tunnels was initiated between Chrysler, Ford and General Motors under the umbrella of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). The wind tunnels used in this correlation were the open jet tunnel at Chrysler's Aero Acoustic Wind Tunnel (AAWT), the open jet tunnel at the Jacobs Drivability Test Facility (DTF) that Ford uses, and the closed jet tunnel at General Motors Aerodynamics Laboratory (GMAL). Initially, existing non-competitive aerodynamic data was compared to determine the feasibility of facility correlation. Once feasibility was established, a series of standardized tests with six vehicles were conducted at the three wind tunnels. The size and body styles of the six vehicles were selected to cover the spectrum of production vehicles produced by the three companies. All vehicles were tested at EPA loading conditions. Despite the significant differences between the three facilities, the correlation results were very good.
Technical Paper

Measurement of Reference Dynamic Pressure in Open-Jet Automotive Wind Tunnels

In automotive open-jet wind tunnels reference velocity is usually measured in terms of a static pressure difference between two different cross-sectional areas of the tunnel. Most commonly used are two sections within the nozzle (Method 1: ΔP-Nozzle). Sometimes, the reference velocity is deduced from the static pressure difference between settling chamber and plenum (Method 2: ΔP-Plenum). Investigations in three full-scale open-jet automotive wind tunnels have clearly shown that determination of reference dynamic pressure according to ΔP-Plenum is physically incorrect. Basically, all aerodynamic coefficients, including drag coefficient, obtained by this method are too low. For test objects like cars and vans it was found that the error ΔcD depends on the test object's drag blockage in an open-jet wind tunnel.