Influence of short rear end tapers on the wake of a simplified square-back vehicle: wake topology and rear drag

As vehicle manufacturers work to reduce energy consumption of all types of vehicles, external vehicle aerodynamics has become increasingly important. Whilst production vehicle shape optimisation methods are well developed, the need to make further advances requires deeper understanding of the highly three-dimensional flow around bluff bodies. In this paper, the wake flow of a generic bluff body, the Windsor body, based on a square-back car geometry, was investigated by means of balance measurements, surface pressure measurements and 2D particle image velocimetry planes. Changes in the wake topology are triggered by the application of short tapers (4 % of the model length) to the top and bottom edges of the base, representing a shape optimisation that is realistic for many modern production vehicles. The base drag is calculated and correlated with the aerodynamic drag data. The results not only show the effectiveness of such small devices in modifying the time average topology of the wake but also shed some light on the effects produced by different levels of upwash and downwash on the bi-stable nature of the wake itself.