Numerical Investigation of the Effect of Tread Pattern on Rotating Wheel Aerodynamics
Keywords:Automotive aerodynamics; Wheel aerodynamics; Tire CFD; Rotating wheel dynamics
The present work investigates the dynamic effect of wheel rotation on the aerodynamic characteristics of slick type (ST) wheel of Formula One racing cars using a computational approach. The ST wheel model was compared to experimental results as a validation case. The pressure coefficient over the ST wheel circumference at its middle plane (xy) has been considered as an experimental case from literature and the computed results showed a reasonable agreement. Furthermore, a quantitative evaluation of the numerically-determined wheel drag, local separation and stagnation angles has been also compared to those extracted experimentally from literature. The validation work served by assessing the suitability of using Moving Reference Frame (MRF) method to simulate the effect of wheel rotation, as well as defining the most reliable conditions of testing such as the optimal meshing criteria, the computational domain size, and the adopted turbulence model. According to wheel studies, all computational work was performed at a Reynolds number of 6.8×105 based on the wheel diameter. The wheels aerodynamic drag, lift, and moment coefficients were computed for each wheel model. Further parametric study on the tread design of the tread type (TT) wheel was performed by varying the tread depth, h. Besides, general schematic pictures of the flow behavior around the TT wheel are presented.