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Road vehicle aerodynamics - setting the scene
Published July 18, 1994 by Royal Aeronautical Society in United Kingdom
Event: Vehicle Aerodynamics
The aerodynamic characteristics of a road vehicle have an influence on many aspects of the vehicle's operation. These areas of influence involve performance, safety, refinement and reliability and can be conveniently categorized under the following headings: a) performance and economy, b) stability, c) visibility, d) passenger comfort, and e) component cooling. Each of these headings is further subdivided, where every sub-heading represents as aspect to be covered in the aerodynamic development program for a new vehicle.
Such a development program requires a comprehensive range of specialized aerodynamic test facilities and techniques. Although some work can be carried out on the test track, the need for controlled and repeatable test conditions dictates the use of suitable laboratory facilities. Wind tunnels are used extensively, both with full-scale prototypes and with small-scale models. Specialized test rigs are also used, and there is increasing use of computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) codes