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WIND NOISE SOURCES AND REDUCTION

1. Introduction
1) As an automobile travels down the road, the air in front of it is displaced which interacts with the surface of the car body to generate aerodynamic noise or wind noise. 2) High wind noise can make it difficult to converse with other passengers or listen to the radio. It can add to driver fatigue on long high-way driving. Hence, manufacturers pay close attention to wind noise and try to minimize it. Fortunately, wind noise can be controlled by careful attention to design and assembly. 3) Noise reduction algorithms can be used to alleviate the effects of wind noise, road noise and engine noise on the sound quality of the communication system. 4) Wind noise is generally proportional to the sixth power of velocity. At lower speeds, wind noise levels are very low and are easily masked by the tyre noise, powertrain noise and ambient noise. At speeds > 160kmph, wind noise is the dominant noise source.

2. Sources of Wind Noise


1) Turbulence through holes, which is a function of the seal between and around doors, hood, windshield is a common source 2) Exterior varying wind conditions, such as cross winds on a highway 3) Very low frequency (10-20Hz) beating noise occurring when either a rear-window or sunroof are open. Aerodynamic noise due to exterior varying wind conditions and beating noise is referred to as wind buffeting or wind gusting noise. 4) The frequency spectrum of steady wind noise is typically broadband and heavily biased towards the low frequencies (31.5-63Hz). 5) Gusting noise due to cross wind has frequency varying upto 300Hz or above.

2.1 Idealized Models of Acoustic Sources


These models are used to relate actual sources in order to predict which source will be dominant. 2.1.1 Monopole 1) 2) 3) 4) It results from unsteady volumetric flow. Most efficient at low Mach numbers. Sound intensity produced is proportional to V4, where V is the flow velocity. Primary sources are sound from the exhaust pipe of an unmuffled piston engine, engine intake and exhaust.

2.1.2 Dipole 1) It results from unsteady pressures acting on a rigid surface. 2) Sound intensity is proportional to V6.

3) Sources are unsteady forces caused by Von Karman vortex shedding on a radio antenna. 4) Idipole/Imonopole is proportional to M2, where M is the Mach number. 2.1.3 Quadrupole 1) Caused due to the collision of two fluid elements, causing unsteady internal stresses in the fluid. 2) Intensity is proportional to V8.

2.2 Physical Wind Noise Sources


2.2.1 Leak Noise 1) It is also known as aspiration noise and is caused by the existence of a direct flow path connecting the exterior of the automobile to the passenger compartment. 2) Leak noise is caused by both the monopole and dipole mechanisms. Since the monopole mechanism is quite efficient at generating sound and since the sound may be tonal in nature and may fluctuate in time, the leak noise will be noticeable and annoying. 3) It must be eliminated first; else wind noise reduction measures will not be effective in lowering the interior wind noise levels. 4) Sources are door seals, moveable glass seals etc. 2.2.2 Cavity Noise 1) The presence of cavities can cause wind noise in a region of high flow velocity, such as the A-pillar or around the outside rear mirrors. 2) Model: - One model assumes that wind noise is caused by the trailing edge wake impinging on the rear surface of the cavity. Since the shear layer flow is turbulent, there is no preferred frequency and the resulting cavity noise is broadband in nature. 3) The other cavity model involves a feedback and resonance phenomenon. A disturbance is shed from the front edge of the cavity and is connected at the local flow velocity. This disturbance impinges on the rear edge of the cavity and generates an acoustic wave that propagates in all directions. t = L/U + L/Co, where L: - dimension of cavity in the local flow direction U: - local flow velocity Co: - speed of sound in air 2.2.3 Wind Rush Noise 1) This is generated by the fluctuating pressures on the exterior of the vehicle caused by air flow over the surface. The airflow is turbulent over the

majority of automobile surface. Thus, the presence of pressure is fluctuating at the surface. 2) It is also produced even if the flow is attached everywhere on the vehicle surface because the flow is turbulent over most of the car. If the flow is separated, the wall pressure fluctuations are more intense by a factor of approximately ten and hence much more wind noise is generated. 3) The most serious wind noise problems are associated with the A-pillar area flow. The air-stream velocity around the A-pillar corner can be 60% higher than the free stream velocity and hence the wind noise will almost be 17dB louder than a source exposed to free-stream velocity.

2.3 Underbody Wind Noise


1) Underbody wind noise sources are complex flow structures involving separation, vortex convection and reattachment, with strong dependence on the detailed underbody geometry. The largest underbody noise sources typically originate from flow separations at the wheels, wheelhouse, engine/exhaust system, suspension, and structural cross-members. 2) The resulting pressure fluctuations excite the underbody floor pan structure and radiate into the vehicle interior as low frequency noise. Accurate simulation of these noise sources requires solution of the time-varying flow structures and resulting wall pressure fluctuations (WPF) on the underbody surfaces. 3) Moreover, the ability to accurately capture energy-containing anisotropic structures and convection of cascaded turbulent structures over a wide range of length scales is necessary.

Fig 1. Underbody wind noise

2.4 Greenhouse Wind Noise


1) For a vehicle traveling at highway speeds, turbulent flow provides a distributed force excitation on the greenhouse panels (such as the side windows and windshield), generating an acoustic field that also acts on the panels.

2) The greenhouse noise sources are complex transient flow structures produced by flow separations and vortices resulting from various exterior geometry features such as the cowl, A-pillar, or mirror assembly. 3) Accurate prediction of greenhouse noise sources requires predicting the time-varying flow structures and resulting wall pressure fluctuations (WPF) on the greenhouse panels, including effects of small geometric details. The turbulent excitation, panel vibration, and acoustics are of widely varying length scales (wave number spectrum), providing a significant technical challenge to predict accurately over the important frequency range. 4) Sound transmission of the exterior acoustic field to the interior is particularly important near the acoustic/structure coincidence frequency, and appears to be significant even though the turbulent wall pressure amplitudes far exceed those of the acoustic pressures. 2.4.1 Evaluating Vehicle Interior Noise from Greenhouse Wind Noise Sources 1) The initial step (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulates the fluctuating pressure loads on the exterior panels of the vehicle at speed. These transient pressures are analyzed in the frequency domain to develop load cases for a structural acoustics model of the vehicle panel dynamics and interior acoustics. The interior acoustic frequencies are simulated using Statistical Energy Analysis with the interior acoustic cavity subsystems indicated in Figure 2. 2) The baseline test condition, tow mirror at 120 kph and zero degree yaw, has been duplicated in all the experiments to maintain consistency between wind tunnel tests. Tape was added to the exterior of the vehicle at seal locations and any other area that could allow wind noise into the vehicle. The taped condition ensured that the interior noise measurements were not affected by other noise pathways into the vehicle that were not included in the simulation. The vehicle was placed on a circular rotating platform in the wind tunnel to allow measurements at positive and negative yaw angles. To measure negative yaw angles, the rotating platform is moved so the right side of the vehicle faces the oncoming wind flow, as seen in Figure 3.

Fig 2. Interior acoustic cavities in the vehicle sea model


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Fig 3. Rotating platform 2.4.2 Conclusions 1) The noise sources on the driver side glass are higher for 10 yaw for all frequency bands. But this trend is reversed for the passenger side glass due to significant reduction in WPF levels for 10 yaw. The difference in dB levels between these yaw angles increases with frequency above 250 Hz for both glasses.

Fig 4. Driver front side glass

Fig 5. Passenger front side glass

2.5 Sunroof/Window Buffeting


1) Vehicle buffeting due to an open sunroof or side window was identified as a significant contributor. Buffeting (also known as wind throb) is an unpleasant, high-amplitude, low-frequency booming caused by flow-excited Helmholtz resonance of the interior cabin. Vortex shedding in the shear layer over the cavity opening (sunroof or side window) couples with the cabin acoustics, leading to a self-sustained oscillation of shear layer and cabin pressure. 2) Accurate prediction of the vehicle buffeting phenomenon requires capturing the bidirectional coupling between the transient shear layer aerodynamics (vortex shedding) and the acoustic response of the cabin. 3) Quantitatively correct prediction of the flow-excited resonance requires an accurate prediction of complex transient behavior including turbulent vortex formation, shedding, and convection through the shear layer; and direct capture of the acoustic interaction requires a compressible solver. 4) The acoustic response of the vehicle cabin must also be correctly modeled. In addition, small geometric details can significantly impact the shear layer/acoustic coupling behavior, requiring a high degree of accuracy with fully detailed geometry. These considerations make simulation of vehicle buffeting a challenging problem. 2.5.1 Optimization of Mirror Angle for Front Window Buffeting and Wind Noise 1) Buffeting is low frequency pressure pulses (below 20 Hz. in larger vehicles) of high amplitude caused when grazing wind across the opening excites the acoustic cavity modes inside the vehicle. This in turn generates vortices from the leading edge of the opening and sets up a feedback loop. The compliance of the air in the vehicle cavity and compliance of the walls act as a spring (stiffness) and the air in the cavity opening as the mass.

2) Buffeting is felt in the vehicle as pressure on the occupants ears to the point of discomfort. In addition, there is a typically an audible harmonic associated with the buffeting as well creating a booming/beating noise in the vehicle cabin. 3) Typically for sunroof buffeting, comfort stops and/or sunroof deflectors are used to reduce or eliminate the phenomenon. For side window buffeting, venting the other windows has shown to reduce the issue in the past. For the front windows, mirror angle in relation to the side glass can be used to reduce the severity of the buffeting. This must be balanced with the overall mirror wind noise heard in the vehicle however, making the tuning of this angle critical.

Fig 6. Angle of mirror head in relation to side glass 4) Buffeting was evaluated for a variety of mirror angles () ranging from 0 to 30 degrees. 30 degrees was deemed the maximum realistic angle that could be used in production. The mirror angle was varied by hand with the cut lines sealed with tape, and then the mirror angle measured with respect to the glass. Data was taken in the DaimlerChrysler Aero-Acoustic Wind Tunnel (AAWT) at 0 degrees of yaw at speeds from 40-87 MPH. Based on subjective vehicle evaluations the primary area of concern for front window buffeting was between the speeds of 40-87 MPH. 5) The driver door window was in the fully down position, which based on testing was the worst case scenario for front window buffeting. Measurements were made using an Aachen head located in the drivers seat the ear located 820 mm from the base of the instrument cluster. Data was analyzed using Artemis 8.0 software with 1 Hz. resolution and linear weighting.

2.5.2 Conclusions

Fig 7. Front window buffeting with 7.5 degrees mirror angle

Fig 8. Front window buffeting with 30 degrees mirror angle 1) Based on the buffeting results, 30 degrees was the only angle that reached the objective of no greater than 110 dB for front window buffeting. A mirror angle of 0 degrees proved to be the best for wind noise, but 30 degrees was comparable to 0
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degrees in most frequency ranges. Therefore, 30 degrees was deemed to be the best mirror angle for a balance between buffeting and wind noise.

2.6 A-pillar
1) Major source of wind noise. Many components are joined - windshield, door, outside rearview mirror and the front quarter panel so there are many opportunities for fit problems and poor sealing. 2) The flow velocity around the A-pillar is relatively high, so any exposed cavity or sharp edges will cause a high wind noise. 3) Also, since the A-pillar is closest to the front seat occupants ear, the noise can be easily heard. 4) The radius of the A-pillar should be as large as practically possible to keep the flow velocity down and to keep the intensity of separated flow turbulence down as well. 5) An auxiliary seal is needed to seal the A-pillar gap on doors with fully framed windows. This seal must extend down to the A-pillar to the point where the door meets the body.

2.7 Outside Rearview Mirror


1) Since the mirror consists of a bluff body with surface irregularities located in the region of local high speed flow, it can cause high wind noise. 2) The mirror should be mounted some distance rearward from the front edge of the door, rather than at the curve point of door. This removes the mirror out of the maximum flow area which reduces wind noise levels. 3) Mirrors with rounded housing are generally quieter. The housing and attachment must be shaped for minimum noise generation. Sharp edges should be eliminated and a radius of 3-5mm should be used in all corners and the trailing edges of the mirror housing. 4) Holes and gaps in the mirror housing should be eliminated. Folding outside rear-view mirrors are more common, both for crash safety reasons and to reduce the overall width of car to facilitate loading onto car carriers. 5) Mirror attachment to the door is a major concern, as there is a potential for gaps that may cause high wind noise level. Thus, a foam gasket should always be used between the mirror base and the door to seal off potential gaps.

2.8 Windshield Wipers


1) The high speed flow through the exposed structure of the wipers can cause high wind noise levels. 2) The only solution to hide the wipers is by tucking them behind the rear edge of the hood or putting them behind some sort of flow detector.

2.9 Radio-antenna
1) The noise source is the periodic shedding of the Von Karman vortex street. 2) The fluctuating lift force is the source of the dipole noise generated. 3) The method to reduce this noise is to disturb the flow so that the unsteady flow is no longer correlated along the cylinder axis so that the correlated vortices and forces cannot form. 4) The classical method is to wrap a helical strake around the antenna. This strake disturbs the flow sufficiently so that no tonal noise is generated.

2.10 Doors
1) The exterior surface gaps between the body and doors can be a cavity noise source, generally broad band. 2) The gap between the door and the body at A-pillar is critical. The other vertical door gaps at the B and C pillars are also potential wind noise sources. 3) Shingling means that the door downstream would be tucked in somewhere inboard of the door or body panel in front of it, which would eliminate wind noise and eliminate the need for auxiliary door seals. However, this does not happen as the flow merely reattaches slightly farther downstream, and the fluctuating pressure excites modes in the cavity and cause noise. 4) The door itself must not have any leak paths. Drain holes for anti-corrosive coatings should be sealed with plugs if these holes are not needed for water drainage. Water drainage holes should be carefully designed to ensure they do not serve as a leak path or as a transmission path for noise.

2.11 Roof Racks


1) The cross members of the roof rack are exposed to high-velocity airflow and may generate strong Von Karman street tones. 2) Adding helical strakes to the cross members would impair the function of roof-rack. Additionally, the roof rack is a styling element. Some manufacturers have attempted to address the roof-rack wind noise problems by making the cross-members with a airfoil shape. However, this does not generally work. a. A true airfoil has a small thickness-chord ratio (0.15). Since the roof rack members must carry the weight of luggage, it must be rather thick. Thus, to achieve a thicknesschord ratio of 0.15 the cross members would end up being atleast 100mm wide which may not be acceptable from styling point of view. b. A true airfoil has a very sharp trailing edge. This is not allowed on roof racks for safety reason. Thus, the angle of attack of airflow into the airfoil will change rapidly wit time.

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