Self-excited aerodynamic unsteadiness associated with passenger cars
Passenger cars are bluff bodies and are prone to unsteady phenomena with scales comparable to the scale of the vehicle itself. This type of large-scale, self-excited unsteadiness is the subject of the present work. Aerodynamic unsteadiness can be important for two reasons. It can cause unsteady pressures and forces on the car and it can impact the time-averaged flow through the generation of Reynolds stresses. A range of parametric two-dimensional bodies have been used in the development of novel experimental techniques and analyses and for CFD validation. Detailed investigations have been undertaken on the Ahmed model and on models of a Rover 200 passenger car in wind tunnels at Durham and at MIRA at scales of up to 40%. A method was developed which makes it possible to visualise periodic flow structures from measurements made sequentially in the wake or on the model surface. Unsteady flows for fastback passenger cars were found to be much less periodic than for two-dimensional vortex shedding cases. Pressure fluctuations were significantly lower on the model surface than in the wake resulting in limited unsteady forces. Unsteady flow structures, Strouhal numbers and levels of unsteadiness were similar for the Rover 200 model with and without a backlight spoiler and for the Ahmed model, indicating that sharp corners do not have a dominant effect on unsteadiness. Two principal unsteady structures were observed in the wake of the fastback shapes. A structure was observed at Strouhal numbers around 0.1 involving the alternate strengthening of the two c-pillar vortices in an antisymmetric mode. At Strouhal numbers in the range 0.3 to 0.6 an unsteady structure was observed consisting of the oscillation of the strength of the two c-pillar vortices in a symmetric mode. At the same time the location of the vortices oscillates in the vertical direction.