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Technical Paper

A Study of Drag Reduction Devices for Production Pick-up Trucks

This paper describes a study of drag reduction devices for production pick-up trucks with a body-on-frame structure using full-scale wind tunnel testing and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. First, the flow structure around a pick-up truck was investigated and studied, focusing in particular on the flow structure between the cabin and tailgate. It was found that the flow structure around the tailgate was closely related to aerodynamic drag. A low drag flow structure was found by flow analysis, and the separation angle at the roof end was identified as being important to achieve the flow structure. While proceeding with the development of a new production model, a technical issue of the flow structure involving sensitivity to the vehicle velocity was identified in connection with optimization of the roof end shape. (1)A tailgate spoiler was examined for solving this issue.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamics Development for a New EV Hatchback Considering Crosswind Sensitivity

An electric vehicle (EV) has less powertrain energy loss than an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE), so its aerodynamic accounts have a larger portion of drag contribution of the total energy loss. This means that EV aerodynamic performance has a larger impact on the all-electric range (AER). Therefore, the target set for the aerodynamics development for a new EV hatchback was to improving AER for the customer’s benefit. To achieve lower aerodynamic drag than the previous model’s good aerodynamic performance, an ideal airflow wake structure was initially defined for the new EV hatchback that has a flat underbody with no exhaust system. Several important parameters were specified and proper numerical values for the ideal airflow were defined for them. As a result, the new EV hatchback achieves a 4% reduction in drag coefficient (CD) from the previous model.
Technical Paper

Development of the Aerodynamics of the New Nissan Murano

The new Murano was developed with special emphasis on improving aerodynamics in order to achieve fuel economy superior to that of competitor models. This paper describes the measures developed to attain a drag coefficient (CD) that is overwhelmingly lower than that of other similar models. Special attention was paid to optimizing the rear end shape so as to minimize rear end drag, which contributes markedly to the CD of sport utility vehicles (SUVs). A lower grille shutter was adopted from the early stage of the development process. When open, the shutter allows sufficient inward airflow to ensure satisfactory engine cooling; when closed, the blocked airflow is actively directed upward over the body. The final rear end shape was tuned so as to obtain the maximum aerodynamic benefit from this airflow. In addition, a large front spoiler was adopted to suppress airflow toward the underbody as much as possible.
Technical Paper

Application of Prediction Formulas to Aerodynamic Drag Reduction of Door Mirrors

It is considered that door mirror drag is composed of not only profile drag but also interference drag that is generated by the mixing of airflow streamlines between door mirrors and vehicle body. However, the generation mechanism of interference drag remained unexplained, so elucidating mechanism for countermeasures reducing drag have been needed. In this study, the prediction formulas for door mirror drag expressed by functions in relation to velocities around the vehicle body were derived and verified by wind tunnel test. The predicted values calculated by formulas were compared with the measured values and an excellent agreement was found. In summary, new prediction formulas made it possible to examine low drag mirror including profile and interference drag.
Technical Paper

Improvement of Practical Electric Consumption by Drag Reducing under Cross Wind

Reducing vehicle fuel consumption has become one of the most important issues in recent years in connection with environmental concerns such as global warming. Therefore, in the vehicle development process, attention has been focused on reducing aerodynamic drag as a way of improving fuel economy. When considering environmental issues, the development of vehicle aerodynamics must take into account real-world driving conditions. A crosswind is one of the representative conditions. It is well known that drag changes in a crosswind compared with a condition without a crosswind, and that the change depends on the vehicle shape. It is generally considered that the influence of a crosswind is relatively small since drag accounts for a small proportion of the total running resistance. However, for electric vehicles, the energy loss of the drive train is smaller than that of an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.
Journal Article

Coupled 6DoF Motion and Aerodynamic Crosswind Simulation Incorporating Driver Model

Because of rising demands to improve aerodynamic performance owing to its impact on vehicle dynamics, efforts were previously made to reduce aerodynamic lift and yawing moment based on steady-state measurements of aerodynamic forces. In recent years, increased research on dynamic aerodynamics has partially explained the impact of aerodynamic forces on vehicle dynamics. However, it is difficult to measure aerodynamic forces while a vehicle is in motion, and also analyzing the effect on vehicle dynamics requires measurement of vehicle behavior, amount of steering and other quantities noiselessly, as well as an explanation of the mutual influence with aerodynamic forces. Consequently, the related phenomena occurring in the real world are still not fully understood.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Sensitivity Analysis of Wheel Shape Factors

Wheels play an important role in aerodynamic drag of passenger vehicles. This is because the contribution of wheels to aerodynamic drag comes from not only wheel itself, but interference effect between wheel wakes and the base wake. As far as we know, there have been no reports about aerodynamic drag sensitivity of wheel shape factors in different vehicle type and different exterior body shape. The purpose of this study was to clarify Cd sensitivity of wheel shape factors in sedan and SUV included different rear fender shape. Many different wheel configurations were investigated in terms of Cd, base pressure and flow field in wind tunnel experiments. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to clarify Cd sensitivity of each wheel shape factors based on test data. The study revealed high Cd sensitivity factors in both sedan and SUV. Our findings show that wheel shape factors and its Cd sensitivities give design guideline for aerodynamic drag reduction.