High cross wind gust loads on ground vehicles from moving model experiments
The environmental wind tunnel at Nottingham University has been extended so that realistic mean hourly atmospheric boundary layers can be generated at sufficient scale to allow aerodynamic tests of sharp edged vehicles to be undertaken. A moving model rig owned by British Rail Research was installed perpendicular to the flow near the end of the working section. As part of this project an automatic refiring mechanism was developed allowing some 2000 transits of vehicles incorporating an internal balance and data logger to be made across the working section with a realistic mean hourly atmospheric boundary layer present. The quality of the data from the moving model rig was assessed. Moving model rig tests and static model tests of a 1/50th scale lorry and 1/45th railway container vehicles have been conducted and extreme value forces and moments relevant to the gust time that overturn a vehicle were calculated. These are the first measurements to have been made using a realistic mean hourly ABL and modelling the vehicle's movement. This thesis assesses the usefulness of the normalised extreme force parameter in determining the extreme forces that a full scale moving vehicle experiences. It was found that the normalised extreme force parameter remains invariant with model time scale for the range of times considered. Further for both the moving model rig tests and the static tests the value of unity that this parameter takes for yaw angles above 30 degrees implies quasi steady behaviour without additional body induced unsteadiness. At lower yaw angles, however, some body induced unsteadiness is evident. These conclusions are compared with predictions from existing numerical models and previous experimental tests. The measured lift force from the static tests compared with the moving model rig tests at 90 degrees yaw angle, i. e. with the moving model stationary, shows a large difference. This is not understood and two concerns are expressed: the effect of the slot, through which the supports of the moving model travel, beneath the vehicle, may be altering the pressure in this region; or it could be due to a Reynolds number effect caused by the small underbody height above the ground.