The Influence of Ground Simulation and Wheel Rotation on Aerodynamic Drag Optimization - Potential for Reducing Fuel Consumption
In automobile development, wind tunnel measurements are used to optimize fuel consumption and the vehicle's road behavior. The classic measuring technique is based on a stationary vehicle set up in the wind tunnel with stationary wheels. Relative movement between vehicle and road surface is therefore ignored. In more recent studies, measurements have been taken with improved ground simulation. For example, a belt is used instead of the stationary wind tunnel floor and the car wheels rotate. Ground simulation using a belt and rotating wheels generally leads to a reduction in flow angularity at the front wheels, in the same way as blocking the cooling air flow, whereby, as a matter of fact, the aerodynamic drag is reduced. Analogous air flow angle correlations can be established for the effect of underfloor panels.