Road vehicles are still largely a consumer product and as such the styling of a vehicle becomes a significant factor in how commercially successful a vehicle will become. The influence of styling combined with the numerous other factors to consider in a vehicle development programme means that the optimum aerodynamic package is not possible in real world applications.
Aerodynamicists are continually looking for more discrete and innovative ways to reduce the drag of a vehicle. The current thesis adds to this work by investigating the influence of active flow control devices on the aerodynamic drag of square back style road vehicles. A number of different types of flow control are reviewed and the performance of synthetic jets and pulsed jets are investigated on a simple 2D cylinder flow case experimentally.
A simplified ¼ scale vehicle model is equipped with active flow control actuators and their effects on the body drag investigated. The influence of the global wake size and the smaller scale in-wake structures on vehicle drag is investigated and discussed. Modification of a large vortex structure in the lower half of the wake is found to be a dominant mechanism by which model base pressure can be influenced. The total gains in power available are calculated and the potential for incorporating active flow control devices in current road vehicles is reviewed. Due to practicality limitations the active flow control devices are currently ruled out for implementation on a road vehicle.
The knowledge gained about the vehicle model wake flow topology is later used to create drag reductions using a simple and discrete passive device. The passive modifications act to support claims made about the influence of in wake structures on the global base pressures and vehicle drag. The devices are also tested at full scale where modifications to the vehicle body forces were also observed.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.