Vehicle aerodynamics

Aerodynamic flow control has been of significant interest since 1968 when Lotus experimented with wings fitted to Formula 1 cars.

Aerodynamic surfaces can increase downforce, change the drag characteristics and influence cooling on critical parts of a motorsport vehicle.

At Surrey we have been working on modifying the flow in the boundary layer on an aerodynamic surface to change the behaviour of the flow to either cause a wing to stall or conversely cause a separated (stalled) flow to reattach allowing the lift and drag to be controlled at the push of a button without moving the wing surface.

To examine this flow we use advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics and wind-tunnel experiments to study the flow on a NACA 0015.

The devices we have developed are known as synthetic jets, which in our design use piezo-electric discs to drive the jet flow. The experimental work was carried out in the 40m/s closed-return wind tunnel on a 2D wing. Future work will examine the effects of operating the wing in close proximity to the ground using the rolling-road facility.

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