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Title: Vehicle surface contamination, unsteady flow and aerodynamic drag
Author: Gaylard, A. P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9357 8257
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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The rear surfaces of blunt-ended vehicles, such as SUVs, are vulnerable to the build-up of contaminants thrown up from wet road surfaces by their tyres. This can compromise drivers’ vision, vehicle visibility, sensor performance and aesthetics. Vision will be reduced if the rear screen and lenses of camera systems become obscured. Similarly, sensing methods such as Light Detection and Ranging [LIDAR], introduced to support higher-level Advanced Driver Assistance Systems [ADAS] and autonomous driving are also vulnerable to contaminant accumulation. In addition, vehicle users may find that dirt is transferred to their hands and clothes as they access the rear load space. Finally, rapid soiling of external surfaces can be perceived as degrading the aesthetics of premium vehicles. Such deposition is a manifestation of unsteady aerodynamics – particularly the interaction between tyre spray, wheel wakes and the vehicle rear wake. These wake structures also strongly influence aerodynamic drag which, in turn affects CO2 emissions for Internal Combustion Engine [ICE] powered cars and the range of Battery Electric Vehicles [BEV]. Hence, automotive manufacturers need a simulation approach that can be used to minimise these characteristics concurrently during vehicle development. This work met that need by developing and deploying an innovative simulation process which predicts both contaminant accumulation and drag at the same time, by numerically representing unsteady aerodynamics, tyre spray and surface water behaviour. It is now integrated into the vehicle development process at Jaguar Land Rover [J/LR] where it is being used to develop new cars. This has been achieved by using a series of novel simplified vehicle geometry and spray systems to incrementally develop and validate the simulation strategy. The work culminated with its application to a production vehicle and subsequent validation against full scale experiments, providing the first quantification of accuracy for simulations of rear surface contamination. This novel simulation approach is combined with original experiments to show that reduced vehicle ride heights can lead to increased rear surface contamination, by reducing underbody flow and moving the vehicle wake closer to the highly contaminated wheel wakes. This provides a challenge for vehicle developers as lower ride heights are used to reduce aerodynamic drag; an increasingly important objective for both ICE and BEV product development, to support lower CO2 emissions and enhanced range, respectively. Finally, the first evidence is presented to suggest that aerodynamically improved underfloors can increase rear surface contamination, or at least redistribute it towards the lower regions of the vehicle rear, such as the bumper. This raises a risk for future BEVs which combine aerodynamically advantageous smooth underfloors with vulnerable ADAS features, such as rear bumper mounted LIDAR.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Jaguar Land Rover ; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Eng.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics