Advantages of Aerodynamics for Modern Performance Cars

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  • Topic: Aerodynamics, Drag coefficient, Automotive aerodynamics
  • Pages : 9 (3459 words )
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  • Published : October 4, 2010
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Advantages of Aerodynamics for Modern Performance Cars

Advantages of Aerodynamics for Modern Performance Cars

Thesis: Aerodynamics, the effects of air flow over surfaces, is an indispensable element for modern cars' efficiencies, both economics and performance related, because aerodynamics helps to decrease the dragforce, makes cars more stabilized and gives a chance of reducing fuel consumption.

I. Performance
A. Aerodynamics Basics
1. Theory
a. Air flow
b. Pressure and forces
2. Cornering
a. Drag
b. Dawnforce
3. Modeling and testing
a. CFD
b. Wind tunnels
4. Coefficient of drag
a. speed
b. efficiency
B. Aerodynamics Parts
1. Front - Naca Ducts
2. Rear
a. Side skirts
b. Side ducts
3. Back
a. Spoilers
b. Wings
c. Diffusers
II. Economy
A. Trucks
B. Family cars

Does it seem reasonable that Ferrari spent $15.5 million on aerodynamic research and development last year? What justifies this massive investment? All is about improving the performance of the car by using fluid dynamics techniques. Vast sums of money from the world's biggest and richest sponsors are spent to gain maybe just 0.001 seconds through improved aerodynamics which create the difference between winning and losing. Moreover huge effort is put in to through aerodynamic enhancements. “Our engineers pursue even greater fuel efficiency from improved aerodynamics by using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), wind tunnel and technical center and real word highway testing.” says Kieffer, research and development manager of Kenworth Truck Co, (2008, para. 11). Aerodynamics, the effects of air flow over surfaces, is an indispensable element for modern cars' efficiencies, both economics and performance related, because aerodynamics helps to decrease the dragforce, makes cars more stabilized and gives a chance of reducing fuel consumption.

One of the significant benefits of aerodynamics is increasing performance by reducing the dragforce and making the car more stabilized. To begin with the basics of aerodynamics, the effect of air flow stands out. When you get your hand out of the window of a moving vehicle, you feel the wind and stand your hand parallel with the ground then you see your hand goes a little back. This is ‘drag’ caused by the hitting of air molecules. If you increase the angle of attack by raising the forefront of your hand, your hand goes upward. This is ‘lift’ because pressure of the air above decreases due to flowing faster than the air below and high pressure penetrates to a lower pressure area to balance. And ‘downforce’ acts as reverse of lift, also known as negative lift. Basically the formula is [pic] , where Fd is the dragforce, ρ is the density of the fluid, v is the speed of the object relative to the fluid, Cd is the drag coefficient which varies with the geometry of the surface and A is the projectional area over the plane normal to flow direction. As seen from the formula, the bigger the frontal area is the more unwanted dragforce occurs. Passing through the air by less separating the gas molecules from each other in the atmosphere as much as possible is the approach to mold an aerodynamic car (McNulty, n.d., para. 6). This makes it clear that reducing drag means fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions and lower energy is needed to accelerate or to increase top speed. In automotive aerodynamics cornering is one of the most important elements for performance. For instance, The Official Formula 1 Website says that a modern F1 car can create 3.5 g lateral cornering force by aerodynamic downforce which means theoretically at high speeds they could drive upside down (“Aerodynamics”, n.d., para. 3). Here effects of wings are observed. As ‘drag’ performs in the horizontal line, the downforce produced by the wing runs perpendicular to the ground, in a descending way (Yager, 2001, para. 3). The whole idea is finely...
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