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Title: A high-fidelity spectral/hp element LES study of Formula 1 front-wing and exposed wheel aerodynamics
Author: Lombard, Jean-Eloi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 7447
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2018
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Computational fluid dynamics is the test bed, for in-silico experiments, before a part is first built however the state-of-the-art relies on low-order Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) or Detached Eddy Simulations (DES) and their turbulence models that require fine tuning of many parameters. They are ill-suited for tackling the complex interaction between the wake of a Formula One front wing and the highly unsteady bluff-body wake of the rolling wheel. This thesis describes the effort made towards assessing the spectral/hp element LES as an alternative method for better for informing the process of the aerodynamicists. Results from the computation of the flow on a rounded wingtip give further insight into the complexity of the flow revealing numerous vortical structures merging into a trailing vortex. A direct numerical simulation of the unsteady wake of an idealised rolling wheel reveals the flow structures associated to the shedding at the top of the wheel, the symmetry breaking as well as the meandering of the jetting-vortices adding to our fundamental understanding of the wheel wake. In particular the DNS allows for a thorough survey of the wake structures in the immediate wake, less than half a diameter, both the jetting vortices and the shedding at the top of the wheel occur but experiments struggle to instrument. Finally preliminary results for the computation of the flow about the front-section of the MP4-17D are reported and compared to experimental results as well as state-of-the-art RANS computation. The CAD geometries, the mesh and initial conditions as well as the exact code used to run them are made openly available for each of the cases reported in this thesis for the fluids community to continue building on these results.
Supervisor: Sherwin, Spencer Sponsor: McLaren ; Royal Academy of Engineering
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral