Loughborough University
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The effect of rear geometry changes on the notchback flow field

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posted on 2015-09-29, 09:08 authored by Daniel Wood
An experimental investigation into the form of the notchback wake topology, its temporal behaviour, and how this changes with the underlying geometry has been undertaken to further understanding of this flow regime pertaining to a popular automotive body type. Whilst this work has been performed at model scale on a simplified body a sufficiently complex design of backlight header and trailing pillar have been utilised. Thereby allowing the systematic study of the wake structure of a family of production representative geometries to be undertaken enabling the flow topology across bodies with parameters representative of vehicles produced from the 1960s to the present day to be investigated. Body force measurements showed both drag and rear lift to increase with backlight angle in a manner which was largely expected due to these designs being representative of older production notchback vehicles. Manufacturers knowledge and understanding of how drag changes with this parameter, combined with on going shape optimisation studies, have led to the shallower backlight angles common to modern designs. Detailed flow field measurements were subsequently used to determine the form and temporal behaviour of the flow topologies responsible for this force behaviour. Across the range of geometries tested, the in-notch structures were shown to undergo significant variation, both their time-averaged form and time-variant behaviour changing. Common to all configurations were the presence of a pair of strong trailing vortex structures which flanked the edges of the backlight and bootdeck. However, flow in the centre of the backlight underwent the greatest variation. This region was shown to develop from a largely attached form at shallower backlight angles before developing into an increasingly strong hairpin like structure. As backlight angle increased further the topology ultimately took a highly asymmetric form. With these changes of the flow topology also came changes of the temporal behaviour which revealed vortex shedding, flow structure oscillation and the switching of bi-stable structures as backlight angle increased. It is hoped that in thoroughly understanding the range of notchback flow topologies typically generated by production vehicles that this work will form the vital foundation upon which future investigations looking to reduced drag can be based.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


© Daniel Wood

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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