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Published 09/30/2014
Copyright 2014 SAE International

Aerodynamic Shape Optimization of an SUV in Early Development

Stage using a Response Surface Method
Shaoyun Sun
FAW R&D Center

Yin-ping Chang
Oakland University

Qiang Fu, Jing Zhao, Long Ma, and Shijie Fan

FAW R&D Center

Bo Li, Andrea Shestopalov, Paul Stewart, and Heinz Friz

Exa Corporation

In the development of an FAW SUV, one of the goals is to achieve a state of the art drag level. In order to achieve such an
aggressive target, feedback from aerodynamics has to be included in the early stage of the design decision process. The
aerodynamic performance evaluation and improvement is mostly based on CFD simulation in combination with some wind
tunnel testing for verification of the simulation results. As a first step in this process, a fully detailed simulation model is
built. The styling surface is combined with engine room and underbody detailed geometry from a similar size existing
vehicle. From a detailed analysis of the flow field potential areas for improvement are identified and five design parameters
for modifying overall shape features of the upper body are derived. In a second step, a response surface method involving
design of experiments and adaptive sampling techniques are applied for characterizing the effects of the design changes.
The characterization is followed by an optimization step to find the best possible drag improvement from these design
changes. At the same time the wind tunnel tests at the Shanghai Automotive Wind Tunnel Center with a fully detailed clay
model of the vehicle confirmed the performance improvement of the simulation results.

CITATION: Sun, S., Chang, Y., Fu, Q., Zhao, J. et al., "Aerodynamic Shape Optimization of an SUV in early Development
Stage using a Response Surface Method," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 7(4):2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-2445.

INTRODUCTION as angles, radii, and dimensions. Typically, improvements can

be made in these parameters with minimal impact on the
In today's economic environment, consumer demand for
styling aesthetics. The reference [2] has described the general
fuel-efficient vehicles has never been higher. Vehicle
role of aerodynamics in the whole process of vehicle
aerodynamic design has a critical impact on fuel efficiency,
through reducing wind resistance of the vehicle's exterior
shape and reducing losses associated with requirements for
The challenge faced by vehicle manufacturers in each design
cooling flow through the engine compartment, which has been
stage is the urgent need for information about how to improve
summarized by Hucho [1]. Aerodynamic design starts with the
the design. Aerodynamic information can be costly and difficult
earliest concepts of the vehicle based on its shape and
to obtain, traditionally involving building a detailed model or
proportion to meet styling intent, passenger space, and
prototype of the vehicle and testing the model in a wind tunnel.
component packaging needs. As the exterior shape is refined,
Design iterations at this late stage of product development are
the aerodynamic efficiency is driven by shape parameters such
time-consuming and costly because it is difficult to make

Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014) 1253

large-scale changes to a model, or to change any surface The Boltzmann equation describes a representation of the
features of a fully detailed prototype during a wind tunnel test. particles and how the particles evolve in a fluid. The equation
Prototype testing for aerodynamics is a major contributor to can be written as following,
vehicle development costs and design cycle time.
Aerodynamics simulation changes the vehicle development
process, reducing both vehicle development costs and design
cycle time. Because of its inherent advantages over physical (1)
testing methods, simulation can bring much more feedback
where f is the velocity probability distribution function and is
about the design performance into each stage of development,
the collision operator, which satisfies the necessary
improving the ability for designers and engineers to innovate in
conservation laws. v is velocity vector, t is time and x is the
balancing design aesthetics with aerodynamics.
position vector.
In the early development stage of an FAW's sports utility
In the lattice form, the Boltzmann equation can be expressed
vehicle (SUV), the upper body is optimized for best
as a set of algebraic equations of the probability distribution
aerodynamic performance. At first, the performance of current
function at each state, fi,
design is evaluated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
simulation. Based on simulation results, the potential areas of
improvement are identified. The aerodynamics team then
discussed with the styling team to determine the range of (2)
design changes so that the design space is defined. A total of
In which e is the unit normal vector. Here the lattice BGK
five parameters, each parameter represents a design change
collision term is,
of the shape of the upper body in a certain range, are defined
to form the design space. A minimal Latin Hypercube Sampling
(LHS) [3] method plus an adaptive sampling method are used
to generate the run list of simulations used to quantify the (3)
design space and corresponding response space. A response
surface method is used to both characterize the effects of the where is the relaxation time and fieq is the lattice equilibrium
design space on the performance objective and search for distribution function.
predicted optimal design regions within the design space. The
optimum design calculated by the response surface is The macroscopic variables such as density and velocity v
validated by CFD simulation. can be expressed by the distribution function as following,

Simultaneously, an open-grille clay model of the current SUV

(baseline geometry) is built and experimentally tested in a wind (4)
tunnel. The clay model is later modified to test the performance
of the optimized shape. The wind speed and the scales of the
models are set to be the same in simulation model and in wind
tunnel test model.
Turbulence modeling in this study uses turbulence theory to
model only the dissipative and inertial ranges, modeling the
dynamics of sub-grid scale turbulence by two additional
Simulation Method equations derived from an extended RNG (Renormalization
Group theory) formulation, as following,
In the early development stage of the SUV, one version of the
CAS (Computer Aided Styling) surface is used as the basis of
the aerodynamic optimization work. The CAS surface is then
cleaned and combined with the underhood and underbody
geometry of an existing vehicle so that a fully detailed digital
model is built and then used for analysis. Here is turbulence kinetic energy, is dynamic viscous
coefficient, t is turbulence viscous coefficient, P is pressure
Commercial software PowerFLOW is used to perform transient and is the dissipation of the turbulence kinetic energy.
(unsteady) flow simulation. This software uses a special
discretization of the Lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) on a
variable resolution Cartesian volumetric grid, which is
automatically generated by the software. The key concept of
the LBM is very briefly outlined here. For more details, please
refer to literature [4,5,6,7,8].
1254 Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014)

For more details, please refer to literature [9] and [10]. This variations to be tested. The results of each test are used to
approach is also known as Very Large Eddy Simulation (or guide the next variant, or if the tests were done in parallel the
VLES). best performing configuration is selected as the winner. The
serial mode of this design methodology has a certain utility in
The aerodynamic CFD simulations were performed in the specific environments, such as wind tunnel testing of a clay
Digital Wind Tunnel (DWT). DWT is a case template for model where variations can be time consuming to create and
simulating the vehicles in open road condition. The whole floor even more difficult to repeat. The parallel mode is also still
of the simulation is treated as sliding wall boundary condition popular in automotive design because it allows for infinite
with the same velocity of the ambient flow in order to represent flexibility in terms of design parameters, while allowing for the
real world driving condition. The thickness of the boundary engineer to limit the number of variants tested. Often
layer is zero in front of the vehicle. The wheels are all treated hypothesis testing is used when time or resources are limited
as rotating wall boundary conditions in all simulation cases. and more sophisticated statistical methods are judged to be
too costly.
In the simulation model the full scaled vehicle is used. The best
practice guide [11] for aerodynamic simulation of SUV is used The primary inefficiency of hypothesis testing, however, is that
to setup the case and the variable resolution regions. The total data from each variant is only valid for that variant. Knowledge
voxels (volumetric grids) of the baseline case is about 146 gained from this variant is only used to drive the following
million. For the physical time scaling, the time step is variant. If the production problem of interest contains many
6.683106 second. The total time steps are set to be 300,000 design parameters with interactive effects on performance, the
(about 2 seconds of real time). For each simulation, backward influence or importance of a single parameter may not be
averaging technique is used to ensure the convergence of reliably deduced from any one model.
transient simulation. The convergence criteria in all the
simulation is set to be one count for the drag coefficient. Advanced methods that can overcome this inefficiency include,
but are not limited to, design using a response surface model.
For the simulation boundary conditions, the ambient air speed Response surface models can be used as a representative or
is set to be 120 km/h to match the speed limit on typical surrogate of the true response of CFD simulations. In this way,
Chinese highways. The Reynolds number in this case is interrogation methods such as analysis of trends, the main and
3.54106, which is the same as in the wind tunnel. There is a interaction effects of parameters, and global search of optima,
fixed turbulent intensity (0.01) and a fixed turbulent length can be performed at little or no cost once the model is built.
scale (5mm) in the simulation inlet boundary condition to Additionally, multiple response models can be built from the
estimate the turbulent state in reality. With these conditions, the same input data providing an analytical way to relate multiple
boundary layers on vehicle surface are assumed as fully objectives. This additional information extracted from the data
developed turbulent boundary layers. There is no set via the response surface model gives each individual
measurement of the laminar-turbulent transition locations on simulation more and lasting value to the process.
the vehicle surface in the wind tunnel tests. The heat
exchangers in the underhood are simulated as porous media The barrier to response surface methods being employed more
and the pressure drop coefficients are calculated by widely is the cost of constructing the data set. For simple linear
experimental data of the components from the existing vehicle. trends, one need only evaluate simulations equal to 2 times the
number of input parameters. However for more complex
systems, the general rule in generating data via Design of
Optimization Method Experiments techniques is 8-10 times the number of input
There are examples of advanced design methods for parameters. For the method described here, we are using
optimization, such as Response Surface Methods and Design adaptive sampling (AS) employing a variant of the weighted
of Experiments, of use in the automotive field [12]. However, it expected improvement function (WEIF) described by Sobester,
has not been our experience that these methods are ubiquitous et al, in [16], followed by iterative validation of optima to
in automotive design. Historically the more common method, improve local convergence. In practice we have seen this
especially in cases involving complex flow physics or method require simulations totaling 3-5 times the number of
geometrical changes that are not well understood, is input parameters.
hypothesis testing [13,14,15].
When fully realized, response surface methods allows the
Hypothesis testing begins by performing one or more engineer to focus more on creating parameters that will have
simulations on baseline geometry. From the results one can significant effects on performance while maintaining the design
reason about the behavior of the fluid system and by extension character of the vehicle. The system is then allowed to perform
reason about likely performance changes that might be the challenging tasks of finding complex trends, interactions
achieved by changing aspects of the baseline geometry. The and optima.
engineer's hypotheses are translated into geometric design
Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014) 1255

Response surface models take as input data from simulations shown in Fig. 1, is useful to simultaneously view trends in
in the form of independent and dependent variables. We refer many dimensions from a single location in the design space.
to the independent variables as the design space (DS) The two-parameter, or 2-D, visualizations, as shown in Fig. 2,
parameters and to the dependent variables as the response help predict interaction effects between parameters at a single
space (RS) parameters. As an example, a design space could location in the design space. More complex analysis of the
consist of geometric morphs of a car's front fascia, rear spoiler, response surface can be done by averaging parameter main
and rear diffuser. An example of a response space could then effects [18] over the entire design space to return which
be the car's drag coefficient, as well as front and rear lift parameters have the largest effect on the response. Finally the
coefficients. The response surface model constructs a response surface can be directly searched to find the predicted
mathematical representation of a response given the matrix of optimum configuration, or in the case of multiple responses, to
design space parameters and a vector of responses for a create a predicted Pareto front as seen in Fig. 3, in which the
series of simulations. A widely used type of response surface multiple response of the drag coefficient CD and the front lift
model is the Kriging surface [17]. The Kriging surface assumes coefficient CLf, are shown This search can also involve
trends are characterized by the following equation, restricting the design space to let the designer explore what if


Where X is the input matrix of DS parameter values for a

number of simulations, is the predicted response, are
coefficients to a polynomial regression, f, of order selected by
the user, and e is white noise which is solved for via a
user-specified correlation function and the constraint that the
response must exactly pass through the available data.

Once the response surface model is constructed, a variety of

analysis techniques can be used to extract information from the
data set.
Figure 2. 2-D visualization of response surface model

Figure 1. 1-D visualization of response surface model

The first level of analysis is simply visualization of the response

surface itself. This can be done by viewing the trends in one
parameter direction at a time so the response surface appears Figure 3. Pareto Front prediction via response surface model
as a line or in two parameter directions such that the response
is a visible surface. When the response surface model has
many dimensions, the one parameter, or 1-D, visualization, as
1256 Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014)

Test Method together to decide the area of changes and the ranges of each
In this study, the design improvement was driven by the change. A total of five design changes are decided, as shown
detailed analysis of simulation results and later confirmed also in Figure 5, Figure 6, Figure 7, Figure 8, Figure 9. Because of
in simulation. The objective of the test work in this study is to confidentiality, only the cross sections instead of the geometry
validate the simulation results. For aerodynamics, the test was can be shown in this paper.
done in the aerodynamics wind tunnel of the Shanghai
Automotive Wind Tunnel Center (SAWTC). It is a closed-loop, The first design change is the boat tailing, as shown in Figure
full scale automotive wind tunnel. Its sketch is shown in Figure 5. This change is made on the rear end of the vehicle body.
4 and its parameters are listed in Table 1.

Figure 4. Sketch of the aerodynamic wind tunnel of SAWTC

Table 1. SAWTC aerodynamic wind tunnel parameters. Figure 5. Cross section of the boat tailing feature, made on a Z axis
aligned plane, Z=1871mm.

The second design change is the tumblehome, as shown in

Figure 6. This change is made on the vehicle upper body.

The wind tunnel has a boundary layer removal system (BLRS)

with a scoop and tangential blowing. It also has a five-belt road
simulation system (one centerbelt and 4 minibelts for the
wheels). In all the tests mentioned in this paper, the BLRS is
on and all the belts are moving. The velocity of the flow is set
to be the same as in simulation, which is 120 km/h, so that the
Reynolds number is also the same as in simulation.

Step 1: Baseline Evaluation and Design Space
Definition Figure 6. Cross section of the tumblehome feature, made on an X
As a first step of this study, a current version of the CAS axis aligned plane, X=2943mm.
surface is simulated and its performance is evaluated as the
baseline of the study. Based on the simulation results, the The third and fourth design changes are made on the same
aerodynamics team then proposed multiple design area, the front end of the vehicle body. They are called front
improvement proposals and discussed with the styling team taper 1 and front taper 2, as shown in Figure 7 and 8.
Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014) 1257

strictly linear with the MSF. The mesh point displacement is

based the linear deformation of a Non-Uniform Rational
B-Spline (NURBS) volume enclosing the effected mesh points.
So while the resulting shape change is generally linear, the
NURBS volume allows the modified surface to preserve or
smoothly vary properties like tangency, curvature and highlight
lines. This level of shape control is critical when modifying
free-from sculpted models like those created in an automotive
design studio.

Figure 7. Cross section of the front taper 1 feature, made on an X

axis aligned plane, X=420mm.

Figure 9. Cross section of the grille angle feature, made on a Y axis

aligned plane, Y=0mm.

The maximums of the MSFs are jointly agreed by the

aerodynamics team and the styling team. The minimum and
maximum MSFs of each design change are listed in Table 2.
For the baseline configuration, the MSFs of all the parameters
are zero.

Table 2. The minimum and maximum morphing scale factors of each


Figure 8. Cross section of the front taper 2 feature, made on an X

axis aligned plane, X=420mm.

The fifth design change is made at the corner of the upper

grille and the hood leading edge, and it is called grille angle, as The design space is then defined by these five parameters.
shown in Figure 9. The objective is then to characterize the design space and
search for the optimum combination of the parameters in the
A commercial morphing tool, PowerDELTA [19], is used to design space for the best performance.
perform the morphing on the surface mesh of the vehicle body.
Each morphing parameter is an individual free-form volumetric
feature based on concepts explained by Sederberg and Perry Step 2: Design Space Characterization and
[20]. Optimization
As mentioned in the Optimization Method section above, the
These features can be controlled by a parameter called a adaptive sampling approach used here has required, in
Morphing Scale Factor (MSF). When the MSF is set to 0.0 no practice, roughly 3 - 5 runs per parameter for convergence to
deformation is applied, when the MSF is set to 1.0 the full an optimal configuration. The decrease in cost relative to
deformation is applied. When the MSF is set to any other standard Design of Experiment approaches is related to the
number (inside or outside the range) a proportional change is iterative nature of the algorithm, leveraging current trends and
made. The actual displacement of each CAE mesh point is not response surface error predictions, as well as sequential
1258 Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014)

validation runs to increase local convergence around optima. After all the simulations are done, the response surface is
For this study we have 5 parameters, thus our project run generated and used to predict the optimum in the design
budget is 15 - 25 runs. The strategy we have found to be most space. A global optimum is found by genetic algorithm in the
successful is to use adaptive sampling for small iterative response surface and the parameter combination is then used
batches followed by serial iterations of optima validation. Here for the validation of the optimum by simulation, as shown in
we have run adaptive sampling in batches of 3 following an Table 5. The predicted optimum can reduce drag by 18 counts
initial characterization using 8 runs. The project was concluded compared to the baseline.
with a single optima validation run for a total of 18 simulations.
The root mean-squared cross-validated error following the Table 5. The global optimum predicted by the response surface
adaptive sampling iterations was 0.004, however upon
validation of the predicted optima the local error was found to
be zero, signaling convergence around the predicted optima of
the response surface.

To begin the process we start with 8 simulations to initially Step 3: Validation of the Optimum
characterize the design space and create a coarsely-resolved The response surface generated from previous study predicts
response surface. The run list is generated by LHS method. a global optimum with a certain combination of the parameters.
The run list of the MSF of each parameter and the results are One simulation is then performed for the validation of the
shown in Table 3. From Table 3 we can see that all the initial optimum. The simulation result shows good agreement with the
characterization results have lower drag than the baseline. It is prediction of the response surface in that the drag number is
then indicated that the design space has a very promising exactly the same as prediction. It can then be concluded that
potential to reduce the drag. the response surface converges to the global optimum in the
design space.
Table 3. The run list and simulation results of the initial characterization
simulation The global sensitivity of each parameter is shown in Figure 10.
Here the Main Effects Sensitivity Index of each parameter is
calculated and shown in a bar chart. It can be clearly seen that
the boat tailing parameter has the most effect on drag.

As a next step, three batches of simulation runs, each batch

having three runs, are performed to increase resolution of the
response surface model. The Adaptive Sampling (AS)
described above is used to generate each batch based on the
available simulation results. The run list and simulation results
are listed in Table 4.

Table 4. The run list and simulation results of the adaptive sampling

Figure 10. The parameter potential of each parameter

Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014) 1259

A series of 1D slice can be calculated by a Kriging fit. These

slices, called Kriging slices, can be used to study the local
effect of a certain design. The Kriging slices of the baseline
configuration are shown in Figure 11, where the x axis is the
MSF for each parameter, respectively and the y axis is the
delta CD (unit: count), which is the difference of the drag
coefficient between each design change (with the according
MSF) and the baseline. The baseline is highlighted as a blue
dot in all the Kriging slices. It can be seen that all the design
changes help to reduce the drag from the baseline.

Figure 13. The interaction of boat tailing and tumblehome at the


Figure 11. The Kriging slices of the baseline configuration Figure 14 shows the interaction between front taper 1 and front
taper 2 while other parameters are fixed at the optimum. The
Similarly, the Kriging slices of the optimum are shown in Figure response surface shows that there is possibly another local
12. It can be clearly seen that the optimum has the lowest drag optimum in this local design space.
in the area of all the local parameter changes.

Figure 12. The Kriging slices of the optimum configuration

The interaction of two parameters and the effects to reduce the

drag can be shown as a 3D surface. Figure 13 shows the
interaction between boat tailing and tumblehome while other
parameters are fixed at the optimum. The response surface
shows that there is only one optimum in this local design
Figure 14. The interaction of front taper 1 and front taper 2 at the

Figure 15 shows the interaction between front grille and front

taper 2 while other parameters are fixed at the optimum. The
response surface shows that there is possibly another local
optimum in this local design space.
1260 Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014)

Generally, the flow coming from the top of the vehicle and the
flow coming from the underbody of the vehicle join together
and form the wake structure. When the two flows meet in the
wake they will form a jet which is typically impinging to the back
of the vehicle. If the angle of this impinging jet is opposite to
ambient flow direction, then when it reaches the back face of
the vehicle it will create an additional force to push the vehicle,
and will reduce the drag, we can call this effect as pushing
effect. In the vertical centerplane, typically two vortices can be
seen, one at the top and one at the bottom. If the two vortex
cores have similar distance and far enough to the back face of
the vehicle, which is called balanced, the low pressure areas
in the vortex cores will also be far from the back face of the
vehicle. In this case the pressure on the back face of the
vehicle will be quite high and uniform. This is usually a very
good sign for good aerodynamic performance.

Let's take a closer look to the wake structure of both cases. In

the wake of the baseline case (Figure 17.), the upper vortex is
farther from the vehicle back face than the lower vortex. The
low pressure region in the lower vortex is then close to the
surface of the vehicle, so the pressure on the lower surface is
lower than on the upper surface. In this case the wake is not
Figure 15. The interaction of grille angle and front taper 2 at the balanced. The impinging jet in the wake has an angle with the
optimum flow direction so the pushing effect is not ideal. In the wake of
The flow results also confirm the performance improvement of the optimum case (Figure 18.), the upper vortex and the lower
the optimum. Figure 16 shows the drag development along the vortex are almost at the same distance from the surface of the
vehicle length direction. This curve is the cumulative drag vehicle, so the low pressure regions in the vortices are also at
difference between the optimized design and the baseline the same distance from the vehicle. The surface pressure at
along the flow direction (X axis positive direction). It can be the back face of the vehicle is then quite high and uniform.
seen that the design changes to the front end of the vehicle Besides, the impinging jet in the wake is almost exactly
reduce the drag by about 5 counts, and most of the opposite to flow direction, so the pushing effect is much better
improvement is achieved at the back of the vehicle. compared to the baseline.

Figure 16. The drag development along the vehicle length

The flow results also show that the optimum design, compared
to the baseline, has a very balanced wake structure and very
Figure 17. The wake structure of the baseline configuration
uniform pressure distribution at the back of the vehicle, which
are all good for aerodynamics, as shown in Figure 17 and
Figure 18.
Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014) 1261

development. The tested clay model is also built with the

upperbody of the SUV and the underhood and underbody
components of the sedan, and the gaps are filled with clay.
There are then inevitably some geometry differences between
the simulation model and the tested clay model in these gaps,
which can result in significant difference between the
simulation results and test results. Another reason is that in
simulation we used a very big simulation volume, with a 0.1%
blockage ratio is to represent real world driving condition, while
in the aerodynamic wind tunnel of SAWTC, the blockage is
close to 10%. The difference between the baseline and the
optimum is 18 counts in simulation and only 7 counts in wind
tunnel test. This may also be explained by the reasons
mentioned above.

In the wind tunnel tests, the surface pressure is also measured

for the optimum shape. A total of 84 points are measured on
different locations of the vehicle body, and are compared to
simulation results. The comparison is shown in Figure 19. Here
CP is the pressure coefficient. The points are plotted by brown
Figure 18. The wake structure of the optimum configuration dots and the linear fit of all the points is shown in green dashed
line. The y=x line is shown in black solid line which means
perfect comparison. It can be seen that the green dashed line
is close to the black solid line. There are two points which have
A clay model of the SUV was built and tested in the significant difference between simulation and test results. For
aerodynamic wind tunnel in SAWTC. The model is open-grille point 1, there is a logo in the test model but not in the
and has all the underhood and underbody components. The simulation model, which results in higher pressure measured in
upper body of the model was made of clay with enough test. For point 2, this point is located at the front screen header,
thickness so that it can be used for the baseline model and where the pressure gradient is quite high, so a small
later modified for the optimized model. uncertainty of the location can cause large difference in the
measured result, which could be the reason for the difference.
The comparison between simulation results and wind tunnel
test results are listed in Table 6. It should also be noted that a small consistent discrepancy
over a large area, especially over the area that is perpendicular
Table 6. The comparison between simulation results and wind tunnel
to flow direction, will also contribute to the error they are seeing
between the forces measured and predicted.

The drag number measured in the wind tunnel is 19 counts

lower than simulation results for the baseline and 8 counts
lower for the optimum. This discrepancy is acceptable and
there could be several reasons for it. Since the scales of the
simulation model and the wind tunnel model are the same, and
the velocities in the two cases are all set to be 120 km/h, one
possible reason to the discrepancy is that there are some
geometry differences between the simulation model and the
tested clay model. The simulation model was prepared from
the CAS surface of the SUV and all the underhood and
underbody components from an existing sedan, with similar
wheelbase length. There is some rather big gaps between the
upperbody of the SUV and the floor, firewall and wheelhouses
of the sedan. In the simulation model, these gaps are manually Figure 19. The comparison of measured surface pressure in wind
closed with artificial simple surfaces because there is no CAD tunnel test and in simulation results
geometry of these gaps available at this stage of the vehicle
1262 Sun et al / SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. / Volume 7, Issue 4 (November 2014)

In the total 84 points measured, there are 28 points are located simulation results show there are 18 counts drag reduction
along the centerline of the vehicle. Figure 20 shows the (improvement) for the optimum and the test results show 8
comparison between test results and simulation results of the counts reduction. The surface pressures of 84 points on the
surface pressure along the centerline. The overall agreement is upper body of the optimum design are also measured in the
again very good. In the test, point 1 is located close to the logo wind tunnel and compared with simulation results. Overall, The
on the hood, but there is no logo in the simulation model, so discrepancies are acceptable. There are some geometry
the measured pressure can be higher than simulation because differences between the test model and simulation model, due
of the additional stagnation caused by the logo. Point 10 is to the incomplete CAD geometry in the underhood and
located at the front screen header. The difference between test underbody, which could be a reason for the discrepancies,
result and simulation result of point 10 can be caused either by while the detailed analysis of the discrepancies still needs
the geometry difference between the test model and the further investigation. This investigation work is meaningful for
simulation model or by the uncertainly of the location of the the future work so that we can better understand the
measurement. It is noted that point 19 to point 28 are all correlation between simulation and wind tunnel test results.
located at the back of the vehicle. It can be seen from Figure
17 that in the simulation result of the optimum configuration, An immediate follow-up of this work is to scan the clay model
the base pressure of the SUV is very uniform and quite high, used in the wind tunnel test and then update the simulation
which is very good for aerodynamics. In Figure 19, the surface model and simulate another case to see the effects of
pressures measured from test along these points are also very geometry differences between simulation model and the test
uniform and agree very well with the simulation results. model. The aerodynamics team will then keep on working on
the underhood and underbody of the vehicle in order to further
improve the performance.

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FAW - First Automotive Works
CAS - Computer Aided Styling
LBM - Lattice Boltzmann Method
VLES - Very Large Eddy Simulation
DWT - Digital Wind Tunnel
LHS - Latin Hypercube Sampling
AS - Adaptive Sampling
MSF - Morphing Scale Factor
SAWTC - Shanghai Automotive Wind Tunnel Center

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