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Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Performance Assessment of BMW Validation Models using Computational Fluid Dynamics

Aerodynamic performance assessment of automotive shapes is typically performed in wind tunnels. However, with the rapid progress in computer hardware technology and the maturity and accuracy of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software packages, evaluation of the production-level automotive shapes using a digital process has become a reality. As the time to market shrinks, automakers are adopting a digital design process for vehicle development. This has elevated the accuracy requirements on the flow simulation software, so that it can be used effectively in the production environment. Evaluation of aerodynamic performance covers prediction of the aerodynamic coefficients such as drag, lift, side force and also lift balance between the front and rear axle. Drag prediction accuracy is important for meeting fuel efficiency targets, prediction of front and rear lifts as well as side force and yawing moment are crucial for high speed handling.
Technical Paper

Engine Room Lay-out Study for Fuel Efficiency and Thermal Performance

Systematic numerical simulations were performed for the improvement of fuel efficiency and thermal performance of a compact size passenger vehicle. Both aerodynamic and thermal aspects were considered concurrently. For the sake of systematic evaluation, our study was conducted employing various design changes in multiple steps: 1) analysis of the baseline design; 2) elimination of the engine room components; 3) modification of the engine room component layout; 4) modification of the aerodynamic components (such as under body cover and cooling ducts). The vehicle performance characteristics corresponding to different design options were analyzed in terms of aerodynamic coefficient, engine coolant temperature, and surface temperatures of thermally critical components such as battery and exhaust manifold. Finally optimal design modification solutions for better vehicle performance were proposed.
Technical Paper

Robust Optimization for Real World CO2 Reduction

Ground transportation industry contributes to about 14% of the global CO2 emissions. Therefore, any effort in reducing global CO2 needs to include the design of cleaner and more energy efficient vehicles. Their design needs to be optimized for the real-world conditions. Using wind tunnels that can only reproduce idealized conditions quite often does not translate into real-world on-road CO2 reduction and improved energy efficiency. Several recent studies found that very rarely can the real-world environment be represented by turbulence-free conditions simulated in wind tunnels. The real-world conditions consist of both transversal flow velocity component (causing an oncoming yaw flow) as well as large-scale turbulent fluctuations, with length scales of up to many times the size of a vehicle. The study presented in this paper shows how the realistic wind affects the aerodynamics of the vehicle.
Journal Article

Aerodynamic Drag and Engine Cooling Effects on Class 8 Trucks in Platooning Configurations

The increasing importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the ongoing evolution of vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity technologies have generated significant interest in platooning for commercial vehicles, where two or more vehicles travel in same traffic lane in relatively close proximity. This paper examines the effect of platooning on four increasingly aerodynamic tractor-trailer configurations, using a Lattice Boltzmann based CFD solver. Each platoon consisted of three identical tractor-trailer configurations traveling in the same lane at 65mph. Two different vehicle to vehicle gaps were studied, 5m and 9m, in addition to singleton (solitary) vehicles, representing an effectively infinite gap. Aerodynamic drag for the lead, middle, and trailing vehicle in the platooning configurations were compared to the corresponding single vehicle tractor-trailer configuration.
Journal Article

Aerodynamic Comparison of Tractor-Trailer Platooning and A-Train Configuration

Modern aerodynamic Class 8 freight tractors can improve vehicle freight efficiency and fuel economy versus older traditional style tractors when pulling Canadian style A- or B-Train double trailer long combination vehicles (LCV's) at highway speeds. This paper compares the aerodynamic performance of a current generation aerodynamic tractor with several freight hauling configurations through computational fluid dynamics evaluations using the Lattice-Boltzmann methodology. The configurations investigated include the tractor hauling a standard 53′ trailer, a platooning configuration with a 30′ separation distance, and an A-Train configuration including two 48′ trailers connected with a dolly converter. The study demonstrates CFD's capability of evaluating extremely long vehicle combinations that might be difficult to accomplish in traditional wind tunnels due to size limitations.
Journal Article

Validation and Design of Heavy Vehicle Cooling System with Waste Heat Recovery Condenser

Fuel efficiency for tractor/trailer combinations continues to be a key area of focus for manufacturers and suppliers in the commercial vehicle industry. Improved fuel economy of vehicles in transit can be achieved through reductions in aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance, and driveline losses. Fuel economy can also be increased by improving the efficiency of the thermal to mechanical energy conversion of the engine. One specific approach to improving the thermal efficiency of the engine is to implement a waste heat recovery (WHR) system that captures engine exhaust heat and converts this heat into useful mechanical power through use of a power fluid turbine expander. Several heat exchangers are required for this Rankine-based WHR system to collect and reject the waste heat before and after the turbine expander. The WHR condenser, which is the heat rejection component of this system, can be an additional part of the front-end cooling module.
Journal Article

Combined Analysis of Cooling Airflow and Aerodynamic Drag for a Class 8 Tractor Trailer Combination

Long haul tractor design in the future will be challenged by freight efficiency standards and emission legislations. Along with any improvements in aerodynamics, this will also require additional cooling capacity to handle the increased heat rejection from next generation engines, waste heat recovery and exhaust gas recirculation systems. Fan engagement will also have to be minimized under highway conditions to maximize fuel economy. These seemingly contradictory requirements will require design optimization via analysis techniques capable of predicting both the aerodynamic drag and engine cooling airflow accurately. This study builds on previous work [1] using a Lattice Boltzmann based computational method on a Volvo VNL tractor trailer combination. Simulation results are compared to tests conducted at National Research Council (NRC) Canada's wind tunnel.
Journal Article

Accurate Fuel Economy Prediction via a Realistic Wind Averaged Drag Coefficient

The ultimate goal for vehicle aerodynamicists is to develop vehicles that perform well on the road under real-world conditions. One of the most important metrics to evaluate vehicle performance is the drag coefficient. However, vehicle development today is performed mostly under controlled settings using wind tunnels and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with artificially uniform upstream conditions, neglecting real-world effects due to road turbulence from wind and other vehicles. Thus, the drag coefficients computed with these methods might not be representative of the real performance of the car on the road. This might ultimately lead engineers to develop design solutions and aerodynamic devices which, while performing well in idealized conditions, do not perform well on the road. For this reason, it is important to assess the vehicle’s drag as seen in real-world environments. An effort in this direction is represented by using the wind-averaged drag.
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

Simulation of Rear Glass and Body Side Vehicle Soiling by Road Sprays

Numerical simulation of aerodynamics for vehicle development is used to meet a wide range of performance targets, including aerodynamic drag for fuel efficiency, cooling flow rates, and aerodynamic lift for vehicle handling. The aerodynamic flow field can also be used to compute the advection of small particles such as water droplets, dust, dirt, sand, etc., released into the flow domain, including the effects of mass, gravity, and the forces acting on the particles by the airflow. Previous efforts in this topic have considered the water sprays ejected by rotating wheels when driving on a wet road. The road spray carries dirt particles and can obscure the side and rear glazing. In this study, road sprays are considered in which the effects of additional water droplets resulting from splashing and dripping of particles from the wheel house and rear under body are added to help understand the patterns of dirt film accumulation on the side glass and rear glass.
Journal Article

Response of a Prototype Truck Hood to Transient Aerodynamic Loading

A study was performed to determine the fluid structure interaction (FSI) for a prototype truck hood for transient aerodynamic loads. The growing need to make vehicle panels lighter to enhance the fuel economy of vehicles has made hood panels more prone to deformation and vibration from aerodynamic loads. Moreover, as global pedestrian crash standards become more stringent to provide safer front end designs to minimize injuries to head and leg, automotive manufacturers are being required to design flexible hoods that crush significantly more than the present designs to absorb the crash energy better. These flexible designs lead to potentially undesirable deformations and/or vibration behavior of the hood at typical highway speeds.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Study of a Production Tractor Trailer Combination using Simulation and Wind Tunnel Methods

The importance of fuel economy and emission standards has increased rapidly with high fuel costs and new environmental regulations. This requires analysis techniques capable of designing the next generation long-haul truck to improve both fuel efficiency and cooling. In particular, it is important to have a predictive design tool to assess how exterior design changes impact aerodynamic performance. This study evaluates the use of a Lattice Boltzmann based numerical simulation and the National Research Council (NRC) Canada's wind tunnel to assess aerodynamic drag on a production Volvo VNL tractor-trailer combination. Comparisons are made between the wind tunnel and simulation to understand the influence of wind tunnel conditions on truck aerodynamic performance. The production VNL testing includes a full range of yaw angles to demonstrate the influence of cross wind on aerodynamic drag.
Technical Paper

The Aerodynamic Development of the Tesla Model S - Part 2: Wheel Design Optimization

Aerodynamic efficiency plays an increasingly important role in the automotive industry, as the push for increased fuel economy becomes a larger factor in the engineering and design process. Longitudinal drag is used as the primary measure of aerodynamic performance, usually cited as the coefficient of drag (CD). This drag is created mostly by the body shape of the vehicle, but the wheel and tire system also contributes a significant portion. In addition to the longitudinal drag created by the body and wheels, rotational drag can add an appreciable amount of aerodynamic resistance to the vehicle as well. Reducing power consumption is an especially vital aspect in electric vehicle (EV) design. As the world's first luxury electric sedan, the Tesla Model S combines a premium driving experience with an electric drivetrain package that allows for unique solutions to many vehicle subsystems.