Numerical modelling of aerodynamics for applications in sports car engineering

Pascual Marques-Bruna, Elena Spiridon

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This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of numerical modelling of aerodynamics as a problem-based-learning strategy for the implementation of aerodynamics theory in sports car engineering programs. Examples are presented of multidisciplinary projects that apply fundamental aerodynamics theory (Thin-airfoil Theory, Vortex Panel Method, Finite-wing Theory and Lifting-line Theory), mathematical models and computer aided design in the conceptual design of inverted wings for the Grand Touring sports car. It is suggested that a numerical modelling problem-based-learning project commences with an analysis of airfoil geometry and mean camber line followed by simulation of surface velocity, pressure distribution and boundary layer development at low Reynolds numbers. Airfoil properties are subsequently used to inform the construction of the three-dimensional wing; where, wing planform, taper and flow control devices including a Gurney flap and end plates must be adjusted to enhance aerodynamic efficiency and comply with motor racing regulations. Optimised geometric or aerodynamic twist may be implemented for the twisted wing to replicate the high performance of a straight wing of elliptic planform and yield high downforce and minimum possible induced drag. Validation tests ultimately determine the accuracy of a computational method in predicting wing performance and should be an integral component of any problem-based-learning project. Numerical modelling of aerodynamics is suggested as a problem-based-learning strategy for Engineering students to undertake complex multi-disciplinary real-world projects that promote initiative and creativity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
JournalProceedings of the 2013 Maui International Engineering Education Conference
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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