Technical Briefs

Aerodynamic Study of a Tricycle Wheel Subsystem for Drag Reduction

[+] Author and Article Information
Thomas Driant, Alain Desrochers

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Université de Sherbrooke,
2500, Boulevard de l'Université,
Sherbrooke, QC, J1K 2R1, Canada

Lakhdar Remaki

Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM),
Mazarredo, 14,
48009 Bilbao Basque Country, Spain

Hachimi Fellouah

e-mail: Hachimi.Fellouah@USherbrooke.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 8, 2012; final manuscript received July 31, 2013; published online November 6, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Zhongquan Charlie Zheng.

J. Fluids Eng 136(1), 014502 (Nov 06, 2013) (7 pages) Paper No: FE-12-1377; doi: 10.1115/1.4025644 History: Received August 08, 2012; Revised July 31, 2013

This paper deals with a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and experimental drag analysis on an isolated rotating wheel subsystem (including its accessories: tire, suspension, A-arms, and fender) of a motor tricycle vehicle with two wheels in front. The main goal of the present work is to study the effect of the fender on the wheel subsystem drag and its optimization. The Star CCM+ commercial code was used for the numerical simulations. Different flow conditions were simulated and some results were validated by comparison to wind tunnel experimental results. To perform drag optimization, several aerodynamic fender shapes were designed and simulated as part of the subsystem. A drastic drag reduction up to 30.6% compared to the original wheel subsystem was achieved through numerical simulations.

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Fig. 6

Pressure taps positioning (Driant et al. [14])

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Fig. 5

Aerodynamic balance design (Driant et al. [14])

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Fig. 4

Drag value for experimental results and different turbulent models

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Fig. 3

Drag variation with number of mesh elements (Driant et al. [14])

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Fig. 2

Wheel mesh section view (Driant et al. [14])

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Fig. 1

The wheel subsystem. (a) CAD design for simulation and tests and (b) installed in the wind tunnel (Driant et al. [14]).

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Fig. 7

Fender pressure coefficient (Cp) comparison. (a) Lower side Cp and (b) upper side Cp. Symbol: experimental measurements; solid line: numerical results. See Fig. 6 for angle reference (Driant et al. [14]).

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Fig. 8

Contribution of the wheel subsystem parts to the drag

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Fig. 9

Velocity magnitude contours of the flow around the stock wheel subsystem delimiting the recirculation area

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Fig. 10

Velocity vector field of the flow around the stock wheel subsystem showing the flow topology in the recirculation area

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Fig. 11

Enveloping fender

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Fig. 12

Closed version of the optimized fender geometry

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Fig. 13

Velocity vector field of the flow around the optimized fender

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Fig. 14

The “boat tailing” optimization technique definition of the section

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Fig. 15

The optimal fender shape obtained by the boat tailing optimization technique. (a) Fender/ground distance optimization and (b) fender tail optimization.

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Fig. 16

Velocity magnitude contours on an optimized version. (a) Closed fender version and (b) optimized version obtained by the boat tailing technique.

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Fig. 17

Front view of tangential velocity vector (global reference) along longitudinal section x = –600 mm (∼1 wheel diameter); origin is on the wheel hub. (a) Stock version and (b) optimized fender.



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