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The Effects of Detailed Tire Geometry on Automobile Aerodynamics - a CFD Correlation Study in Static Conditions
ISSN: 1946-3995, e-ISSN: 1946-4002
Published April 20, 2009 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Lounsberry, T., Gleason, M., Kandasamy, S., Sbeih, K. et al., "The Effects of Detailed Tire Geometry on Automobile Aerodynamics - a CFD Correlation Study in Static Conditions," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars – Mech. Syst. 2(1):849-860, 2009, https://doi.org/10.4271/2009-01-0777.
A correlation study was performed between static wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for a small hatchback vehicle, with the intent of evaluating a variety of different wheel and tire designs for aerodynamic forces. This was the first step of a broader study to develop a tool for assessing wheel and tire designs with real world (rolling road) conditions. It was discovered that better correlation could be achieved when actual tire scan data was used versus traditional smooth (CAD) tire geometry.
This paper details the process involved in achieving the best correlation of the CFD prediction with experimental results, and describes the steps taken to include the most accurate geometry possible, including photogrammetry scans of an actual tire that was tested, and the level of meshing detail utilized to capture the fluid effects of the tire detail. The effects of this scanned tire geometry were significant, and improved the results for drag, lift, and the cooling drag for the vehicle relative to experimental full scale testing.