Engineering the race car wing: application of the vortex panel numerical method

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Abstract

This study examined aerodynamic properties and boundary layer stability in five cambered airfoils operating at the low Reynolds numbers encountered in motor racing. Numerical modelling was carried out in the flow regime characterised by Reynolds numbers 0.82–1.29 × 106. The design Reynolds number of 3 × 106 was used as a reference. Aerodynamics variables were computed using AeroFoil 2.2 software, which uses the vortex panel method and integral boundary layer equations. Validation of AeroFoil 2.2 software showed very good agreement between calculated aerodynamic coefficients and wind tunnel experimental data. Drag polars, lift/drag ratio, pitching moment coefficient, chordwise distributions (surface velocity ratio, pressure coefficient and boundary layer thickness), stagnation point, and boundary layer transition and separation were obtained at angles of attack from −4° to 12°. The NASA NLF(1)-0414F airfoil offers versatility for motor racing with a wide low-drag bucket, low minimum profile drag, high lift/drag ratio, laminar flow up to 0.7 chord, rapid concave pressure recovery, high resultant pressure coefficient and stall resistance at low Reynolds numbers. The findings have implications for the design of race car wings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Engineering
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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