Development of Volvo´s full-scale wind tunnel a
Purpose and goal
Since 1986, Volvo Cars has used its own wind tunnel as a basis for requirements, development of new projects and verification of production cars. Parallel to this, today´s virtual tools are used as a necessary complement to physical development. The aim of the project has been to further develop the numerical model of the wind tunnel in order to reduce the differences between the tools, shorten the lead times, and in the long term enable certification of fuel consumption with virtual tools. Another goal has been to investigate the shortcomings in the air flow quality in the wind tunnel.
Expected results and effects
The project has resulted in an improved virtual model of Volvo´s wind tunnel as well as an increased understanding of the flow in the tunnel´s test section and its impact on the measured aerodynamic forces in line with the project´s objective. This enables lead-time shortening for the development of environmentally and safely even better vehicles, and a gradual shift towards more cost-effective virtual development and verification. The results of the project are in line with the vision for FFI Vehicle Development to establish world-leading methods and tools for vehicle development.
Planned approach and implementation
The longitudinal pressure distribution and the distribution of the boundary layer in the wind tunnel have been measured and used to validate and calibrate the virtual model. The pressure distribution was also used for the choice of turbulence model suitable for the numerical simulations. Measurements of flow angles and homogeneity of the flow in empty test section have been carried out with very high accuracy, and possible causes of the occurrence of flow angles have been rejected. By artificially increasing, it has been shown that these flow angles have no effect on the measured forces.