Title: Numerical simulation and wind tunnel measurements on a tricycle wheel sub-system

Authors: Thomas Driant; Hachimi Fellouah; Stéphane Moreau; Alain Desrochers; Lakhdar Remaki

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, 2500, Boulevard de l'Université, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, 2500, Boulevard de l'Université, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, 2500, Boulevard de l'Université, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, 2500, Boulevard de l'Université, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, 2500, Boulevard de l'Université, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

Abstract: The drag of an isolated rotating wheel subsystem including its accessories (tyre, suspension, A-arms and fender) of a tricycle vehicle has been studied both numerically and experimentally. The objective of this study is to validate the numerical model developed in order to optimise a generic wheel subsystem through drag analysis. The CAD model of the wheel subsystem was created in CATIA-v5 and the numerical simulations were carried out using the Star CCM+ commercial CFD package. The resulting numerical model was validated experimentally by comparing with the drag and pressure coefficient measured in a large subsonic closed-loop wind tunnel. Different mesh topologies and turbulent models were tested. The final model developed shows less than 3% of drag discrepancy vs. experimental results. Two aerodynamic shapes of A-arms are then designed to perform drag reduction on the wheel subsystem. Numerical simulations show a significant drag reduction up to 20% compared with the original wheel subsystem.

Keywords: vehicle drag; aerodynamics; turbulent modelling; mesh optimisation; wind tunnel measurements; CFD; computational fluid dynamics; numerical simulation; tricycle wheels; wheel sub-systems; tricycle vehicles; CAD; drag reduction; turbulence.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESMS.2013.052376

International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation, 2013 Vol.5 No.1/2/3, pp.159 - 167

Available online: 21 Feb 2013 *

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