Sei sulla pagina 1di 20


Third year

Aerodynamics in Cars

Aerodynamics is itself a part of fluid dynamics,

which is the study of the properties of a solid object
displace a fluid such as air.
For the performance of a typical passenger car,
aerodynamics is an important consideration in the
achievement of maximum fuel economy, as well as in
creating auto body styling that is visually appealing.

Terms to KnowAerodynamics

Rear Suction
Down Force
Frontal Area


AirIs a type of fluid such as water that can be directed or

Has mass and is measured in terms of pressure;
Applies direct and frictional forces to objects in


One should be aware of four aerodynamic

Lift/Down Force
Drag Coefficient
Frontal Area


Drag is a combination of two forces that

will work against the acceleration of your
Frontal Pressure occurs when tiny molecules of

air hit the front of your car and is forced away to

make room for other molecules to hit it.
Rear Suction occurs when an empty pocket of air
is created in the back of your car resulting in a
vacuum cleaner effect that tries to pull your car

Air Flow
Rear Suction

Lift and Down Force

Lift is similar to rear suction in that a thin

empty pocket occurs as air passes over a
flat surface causing the car to lift.
Down Force is due to high pressure in
curved surfaces that causes the car to be
pushed down.

Lift and Down Force

Drag Coefficient

Drag Coefficient is a way of expressing

how slippery a car is.
The drag coefficient (CD) is a measure of
the vehicle's aerodynamic efficiency.

Frontal Area

Frontal Area is the total of all surfaces in the front of your

vehicle which cause drag.
Area = Length x Width

Aerodynamic drag

Aerodynamic drag = (/2) CD * A * V2, where

is air density, A is the projected frontal
area of the body, and V is velocity.
Even though aerodynamic drag is critically
dependent on the velocity, it is only the
product CD times A that the designer can

Past of Aerodynamics

A = frontal
area, b = wheelbase,
CD = drag coefficient

Partition of Drag in Modern

Rear View Mirrors 3 - 6%
Engine Cooling
5 - 9%
14 - 20%
Wheels, Rims and Wheel Housings 30 35%
Vehicle Body(Shape and Sealing) 39 - 42%

Vehicle Body

Ergonomics is more and more important in new

cars and for instance the height of new models is
growing. Thus the accessibility is improved.

Wheels, Rims and Wheel Housings


Engine Cooling

Mercedes-Benz 350 SL

Mercedes-Benz SL 500

Rear View Mirror

A CFD (Computational Fluid

Dynamics) program can be
very useful to optimize the
shape of the rear view mirror.
The pressure distribution on
the side shows clearly how the
rear view mirror influences
the air flow on the side of the


This short report leads actually to one major idea

which is that the body of a car only contributes to
roughly half of the total drag.
The major improvement for future vehicles can be
reached by a smoother design of the underside.
Another important issue for drag reduction, certainly
later on, will the replacement of rear view mirrors
with cameras for instance.
New passenger seat configurations, like the driver
seat in the front, two passenger seats in the middle
and one at the rear, would make it possible to design
more streamlined vehicles, paying attention to the
fact that a suitable ergonomics remains.