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Monash University Sunway Campus

MEC3458 Experimental Project


EFFECTS OF AERODYNAMIC FORCES ON MINI 4WD
COWL IN WIND TUNNEL AND THE USE OF RAPID
PROTOTYPING IN OPTIMISING THE AERODYNAMIC
DESIGN

PROJECT REPORT

CONTENTS
Acknowledgement.......................................................................................2
Abstract.......................................................................................................2
Introduction.................................................................................................3
Background.................................................................................................4
Problem Statement......................................................................................4
Literature Review........................................................................................5
Methodology................................................................................................7
Experimental Setup Apparatus and Materials..........................................7
Part A Determining the Aerodynamic forces of control model...............8
Designing a mount for model................................................................8
Calibration of the sensors.....................................................................9
Determining humid air density and wind velocity................................9
Flow Visualization................................................................................10
Part B Optimization of the car surface.................................................11
Analyzing The Data Obtained..............................................................11
Designing The New Cowl.....................................................................11
Results and Discussion..............................................................................12
Conclusion.................................................................................................12
Future Works.............................................................................................12
References.................................................................................................13

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The field of aerodynamics has been around since the seventeenth century
but its application has been utilized for centuries throughout recorded
history, from the use of sailboats and windmills by ancient societies to the
flying machines designed by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Renaissance.[1]
Although the foundations of aerodynamics were formulated over the past
200 years, not all principles were immediately utilized for car design.
When the carriage horse was replaced by a thermal engine more than 100
years ago, nobody thought about aerodynamics. The purpose of the body
of a car was to shelter the driver and passengers from outside elements
such as wind and rain. The concept of applying aerodynamics to road
vehicles came up much later after flight technology had made
considerable progress.[2]
Naturally, the desire for low drag
was recognized first followed by
the need for higher negative lift.
One of the earliest car design to
have a streamlined designed was
the 1899 Camille Jenatzy that went
on to break the 100 kilometer/hour
(km/h) barrier. The car itself was
electrically powered and had a
design that was oddly shaped as a
FIGURE 1: CAMILLE JENATZY AT THE
long cigar in an effort to reduce
HELM OF HIS LA JAMAIS CONTENTE
aerodynamic drag. The rapidly
developing automotive industry followed and one of the most significant
designs of that era is the 1924 Tropfenwagen (droplet shape in German).
This automobiles shape was dominated by the airfoil shape (particularly
from the top view) and recent tests in the Volkswagen wind tunnel showed
a drag coefficient of CD = 0.28, which is outstanding even by todays
standards.[3]
Fast forward to almost a century later and we can see how the principles
of aerodynamics has become a multifaceted field that governs a lot of the
design choices we see on the road today. Economics, safety and even
environmental concerns has driven the need for optimizing the
aerodynamic design of vehicles. It is estimated that around 80km/h the
aerodynamic drag begins to have significant effect on a vehicle, and by
110km/h 65 percent of the power generated by the car is used to

overcome aerodynamic drag.[4] The motion of air around a moving


vehicle affects all of its components in one form or another. Engine intake
and cooling flow, internal ventilation, tire cooling, and overall external flow
all fall under the umbrella of vehicle aerodynamics. The present
discussion, however, focuses on the effects of external aerodynamics only.

BACKGROUND
Improvements on vehicle drag is an important aspect in car design
because of its potential to improve fuel economy. However, for this
experiment, the focus is on the aerodynamic forces acting on a scale
model of a mini 4 wheel drive (4WD) race car in order to improve its
performance on the tracks and also to better understand aerodynamic
principles in car design. The use of rapid-prototyping is also a main aspect
of this experiment to show that the use of this technology is cheaper,
faster and more reliable than using computer aided simulations such as
FLUENT.
The field of rapid-prototyping, especially Fused Deposited Modelling
(FDM), is becoming more accessible to the general public as it has
becomes less complex and more affordable to build. There is also no lack
in the materials that it is able to use in printing. Polylactic acid (PLA),
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), rubber, porcelain and metal clay are
but a few of the material that is able to be used in rapid-prototyping. The
list of material is ever-expanding as the field is becoming ever more
popular and more research are being conducted.[5]
The use of CFD to determine the aerodynamics forces acting on a 3D
model of the mini 4WD cowl requires complex understanding of the
accurate perimeters that it will be subjected to in real life condition. Long
simulation time coupled with the requirement of expensive computer
hardware to run these simulations makes the use of low cost FDM 3D
printing machine a much more appealing alternative as the cost is
cheaper, the printing time is shorter and the result is testing is actual
working conditions.

PROBLEM STATEMENT
The purpose of this project is to measure and optimize the live scale
model of mini 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) car toys aerodynamic forces. The
measurement of aerodynamic forces of car model is taken using wind
tunnel testing. The data is processed and body parts that contribute to
drag and lift are identified. Rapid prototyping using Fused Deposited
Modelling (FDM) is used to build modified parts/body and re-tested to
measure the optimized models aerodynamic.
The specific objectives of this work are to:

To apply proper flow visualization technique suitable toward


identifying separation of flow on the models body parts.

To measure the aerodynamic forces of the model using wind tunnel


testing rig.
To analyse the data and identify the parts contributing to the drag
and lift forces of the model
To build an improved model by rapid prototyping using FDM the new
parts/body and assemble it together.
To compare the successful percentage of reducing drag and lift
forces of model.

CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
Halil Sadettin Hamut et al. conducted a study on the aerodynamic effects
of rear spoiler geometry on a sports car and the results from the CFD
analysis are compared with the wind tunnel experimentation. Uncertainty
analysis is carried out to ensure the reliability of the obtained results. The
experiment was conducted by creating a 2-D vehicle geometry of a race
car and it is solved using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver
FLUENT version 6.3. Analysis of the aerodynamic effects is carried out
with and without the rear spoiler under different vehicle speeds.
Comparison of the main results with the wind tunnel experiment is
conducted with 1/18 replica of a Nascar. The drag coefficient is found to
be 0.31 by using CFD analysis and it increases to 0.36 when the spoiler is
added to the geometry. A good agreement is obtained within 5.8 percent
error band for the comparison of the computational results with the spoiler
and the experimental data. For the wind tunnel testing, the uncertainty
related to the drag coefficient is calculated to be 6.1 percent. In the
experiment conducted, it is found that the addition of the spoiler in the
CFD model caused a decrease in the lift coefficient from 0.26 to 0.05.[6]
Yihua Cao and Xu Zhu carried out a research on the effects of
characteristic geometric parameters on parafoil aerodynamic performance
with the aid of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) technique. The planform
geometry, arc-anhedral angle, basic airfoil and leading edge-cut are the
main characteristic geometric parameter for this study. A large number of
numerical parafoil models with different geometric parameters are
created by using CFD technique to study the relationship between the
parameters and parafoil aerodynamic performance. Finding showed that
an increase in arc-anhedral angle decreases the lift of a parafoil but has
little effect on lift-drag ratio, the model with smaller leading-edge radius
and thinner thickness of parafoil section achieves larger lift-drag ratio and
the leading-edge cut has little effect on lift but increase drag dramatically;
meanwhile, its effect on flowfield is confined to the nearby region of
leading edge. Besides that this study found that the model which has the
lowest drag tends to have the largest lift-drag ratio which shows that drag
plays a leading role in parafoil gliding performance.[7]
K.S. SONG et al. carried out a research on aerodynamic design
optimization of rear body shapes of a sedan for drag reduction. Artifial
Neural Network (ANN) is used for this study to optimize the outer shape of
a sedan aerodynamically which focused on the rear body shapes of the

sedan. To obtain the variables for the optimization, CFD simulation was
used to analyse the unsteady flow field around the sedan which moves at
high speed and the fluctuations of the drag coefficient (CD) and pressure
around the car was calculated. After consideration of the baseline result of
CFD, 6 local parts from the end of the sedan were chosen as the design
variable for optimization. The studies found that as the shapes are
aerodynamically optimized, the aerodynamic performance is improved by
5.64 percent compared to the proposed baseline vehicle.
Yang Zhigang et al. conducted a study on aerodynamic design
optimization of race car rear wing. The research conducted states that the
process of design and numerical calculation for rear wing is traditionally
carried out by manual interference, and the numerical results normally will
be about the relationship of aerodynamic forces and a single design
parameter of a rear wing. In this study, computer program of wing profiles
and two scripts were created such that the process of design analysis of a
rear wing ranging from geometry generating and meshing to the
numerical calculation can be fully automatically handled. As stated by
(Yang, Gu and Li, 2011), this automatic design and analysis process was
applied to the PACE 2008 global vehicle collaboration project and there
were 4725 numerical cases due to the variations of five parameters were
calculated using the computer program. It is found that compared to the
original design, the process yielded a design with a 6 percent increase in
downward force and 5 percent decrease in drag.[8]

CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
EXPERIMENTAL SETUP APPARATUS

AND

MATERIALS

FIGURE 2: WIND TUNNEL SCHEMATIC WITH DIMENSIONS

The area for the test section part at the wind tunnel is 0.25 m x 0.25 m.
Apparatus:

Manometer
Barometer
Force Transducer (KYOWA LSM-B-10NSA1 )
Weights
Pitot tubes
Tamiya Mini 4WD
3D printer

Materials:

Thread
Cotton
Polylactic acid (PLA) filament
Double sided tape
Super Glue Cyanocrylate

PART A DETERMINING

THE

AERODYNAMIC

FORCES OF CONTROL MODEL

The dimension for the model is as below


TABLE 1: SPECIFICATION OF THE SETUP

Specification
Chassis and body
Maximum car width
Overall car height
Overall car length
Minimum car weight (including
batteries and motor)
Front and rear tyres diameter
Front and rear tyres width

DESIGNING

Description
Made from ABS plastic
Under 105 mm
Under 70 mm
Under 165 mm
At least 90 g
22 - 35 mm
8 - 26 mm

A MOUNT FOR MODEL

[SOLIDWORKS PICTURE OF MOUNT]

The model for the mount of the car is designed by using the solid work
software. Then, the mount was print out by using the 3D printing device
as shown in Figure 1 above. Polylactic acid (PLA) material is used as a
filament in the 3D printing device to create this mount. This is because
the material is harder than other material such as Acrylonitrile Butadiene
Styrene (ABS). Besides that, PLA material also is used because it is easier
to use PLA material for the 3D printing process. Then, this mount was
attached under the car model so that the model will held upside down in
the wind tunnel as shown in Figure 2 above. It is easier to set up the
sensor when the car is held in this position.

FIGURE 3: LEFT - 3D PRINTED MOUNT FOR MODEL; RIGHT - MOUNTED MODEL


INSIDE THE WIND TUNNEL

CALIBRATION

OF THE SENSORS

The KYOWA LSM-B-10NSA1 device was set up


as shown in Figure 3 above and connected to
the computer. Value of 50g increments
weights was put onto that device to calibrate
the sensor. From the computer, software for
calibration was run and observed to obtain
the strain unit in x-direction (channel 1), yFIGURE 4: KYOWA FORCE
direction (channel 2) and z-direction
SENSOR AND BRONZE
(channel 3). Then the results obtained were
WEIGHTS
plotted by using Microsoft Excel. The graph of strain unit in z-direction
against mass (g) is plotted to find the relationship equation between the
strain unit and mass (g). Then, this graph and the equation obtained will
be used as the reference to obtain drag force and lift force based on the
strain unit for drag and lift.
DETERMINING

HUMID AIR DENSITY AND WIND VELOCITY

FIGURE 5: FROM LEFT - BAROMETER; TABLE OF HUMID AIR TEMPERATURE; WET

Dry
bulb and wet bulb temperature were taken from the thermometer as
AND DRY BULB THERMOMETER
shown in Figure 6 above in lab. The difference between these two
temperatures were defined and referred to the humidity air table as
shown in Figure 5 above to obtain percentage of humidity. Then,
barometric pressure reading was taken from barometer as shown in Figure
4 above in lab. All the values obtained were key in to the air density
calculator. During the wind tunnel testing, the pitot tube was connected to
the manometer reading as shown in Figure 7 and Figure 8 above to find
the change in height. Then, the values for change in height and air density
were used in Bernoullis Principle equation to obtain air velocity. The
velocity of air used for the wind tunnel is 20 m/s.

FLOW VISUALIZATION
For the flow visualization techniques where the process
of making the physics of fluid flows are visible. Some
specials methods are needed to make the flow patterns visible because
most fluids are transparent and their flow patterns are
invisible to us. This technique is very critical to study in order
to understand the flow patterns on the surface. The key
features that can be investigated using the flow visualization
are stagnation point location, separation
FIGURE 6: SIDE VIEW OF
point, location of boundary layer transition,
MODEL WITH TUFF
extent of separation zones and etc. In this experiment, we
choose the simplest and frequent method for surface flow
visualization which is to attach tufts to the surface of interest.
The surface of the car model was painted with black color. Then, cotton
wool was attached by glue to the surface of the car model to make the
color different from the surface of the car so that the flow patterns clearer
to observe as shown in the Figure 7 and Figure 8 above. Then, the flow
separation in the rear portion was observed from the flow pattern of the
cotton wool during the wind tunnel testing through the experiment. Flow
separation visualization was recorded and type of flow separation areas
occurs was defined due to geometry of the car.
FIGURE 7: TOP VIEW
Then, the geometry of the car was modified in
OF MODEL WITH TUFF
order to optimize the drag and lift force.

PART B OPTIMIZATION

OF THE CAR SURFACE

ANALYZING THE DATA OBTAINED


In data analysis, the value for drag coefficient and lift coefficient were
found. There are 4 strain unit readings that will be shown in Microsoft
Excel which are Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3 and Channel 4. However,
for this project only reading from channel 2 and channel 3 will be taken
into consideration as channel 2 represents the drag reading (Y-axis) and
channel 3 represent the lift reading (Z-axis). The wind tunnel test was run
two times to get more accurate result. The average reading for channel 2
and channel 3 was used to plot the graph of strain unit (drag) against time
(s) and strain unit (lift) against time (s). Based on these two graphs, the
strain unit (drag) and strain unit (lift) can be obtained. Then, by using the
relationship of strain unit and mass (g) that was found during the
calibration of the sensor, the value for drag force and lift force can be
obtained. Next, the drag coefficient and lift coefficient is found by using
the above formula
CD=

C L=

Drag Force
(1)
1
2
V A
2
Lift Force
(2)
1
2
V A
2

DESIGNING THE NEW COWL

CHAPTER 4
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

CONCLUSION

FUTURE WORKS

REFERENCES

[1] J. G. Leishman, Principles of Helicopter


Aerodynamics with CD Extra: Cambridge
university press, 2006.
[2] W.-h. Hucho and G. Sovran, "Aerodynamics of
road vehicles," Annual review of fluid
mechanics, vol. 25, pp. 485-537, 1993.
[3] J. Katz, "Aerodynamics of race cars," Annu.
Rev. Fluid Mech., vol. 38, pp. 27-63, 2006.
[4] D. Singh, J. Toutbort, and G. Chen, "Heavy
vehicle systems optimization merit review
and peer evaluation," Annual Report,
Argonne National Laboratory, vol. 23, pp.
405-411, 2006.
[5] H. Lipson and M. Kurman, Fabricated: The
new world of 3D printing: John Wiley & Sons,
2013.
[6] H. S. Hamut, R. S. El-Emam, M. Aydin, and I.
Dincer, "Effects of rear spoilers on ground
vehicle aerodynamic drag," International
Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid
Flow, vol. 24, pp. 627-642, 2014.
[7] X. Zhu and Y. Cao, "Numerical simulation of
platform geometry effect on parafoil
aerodynamic performance," Acta Aeronautica
et Astronautica Sinica, vol. 32, pp. 19982007, 2011.
[8] Z. Yang, G. Wenjun, and Q. Li, "Aerodynamic
design optimization of race car rear wing," in
Computer Science and Automation
Engineering (CSAE), 2011 IEEE International
Conference on, 2011, pp. 642-646.