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Science Behind F1 Aerodynamic Features.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Table of Contents 1.0 Science Behind F1 Aerodynamic Features......................................................1 1.1 Bernoulli's Equation.................................................................................1 1.2 Drag....................................................................................................2 1.3 Downforce.............................................................................................5 2.0 History of Aerodynamic Features - Momentous Design Innovations..............6 3.0 Features of the Front Half of the F1 Vehicle..................................................6 3.1 Front Wing...........................................................................................6 3.2 Wheels.................................................................................................8 3.3 Suspension............................................................................................9 3.4 Barge Boards.......................................................................................10 3.5 Brake Cooling......................................................................................11 4.0 Features of the Rear Half of the F1 Vehicle.................................................11 4.1 Rear Wing...........................................................................................11 4.2 Endplates............................................................................................13 4.3 Diffuser..............................................................................................14 4.4 Chimneys............................................................................................15 4.5 Flip-ups..............................................................................................17 5.0 Testing........................................................................................................17 5.1 Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).......................................................17 5.2 Wind-Tunnels......................................................................................18 6.0 Technical Regulations Affecting Aerodynamic Features..............................19 7.0 Concluding Remarks - Predictions for the Future.......................................20 References.............................................................................................................22 1.0 Science Behind F1 Aerodynamic Features Engineered with perfection, the loud and aggressive Formula One (F1) racecar is the ultimate racing machine. Its reputation has been defined by its amazing speed and handling characteristics, which are for the most part, a product of its aerodynamic features. The success of these features relies primarily on the appropriate and efficient harnessing of drag and downforce - both of which are ruled by physical principles explained by Bernoulli's equation. 1.1 Bernoulli's Equation Investigated in the early 1700s by Daniel Bernoulli2, his equation defines the physical laws upon which most aerodynamic concepts exist. This now famous equation is absolutely fundamental to the study of airflows. Every attempt to improve the way an F1 car pushes its way through molecules of air is governed by this natural relationship between fluid (gas or liquid) speed and pressure. There are several forms of Bernoulli's equation, three of which are discussed, in the succeeding paragraphs: flow along a single streamline, flow along many streamlines, and flow along an airfoil. All three equations were derived using several assumptions, perhaps the most significant being that air density does not change with pressure (i.e. air remains incompressible). Therefore they can only be applied to subsonic situations. Being that F1 cars travel much slower than Mach 1, these equations can be used to give very accurate results.1 Low speed fluid flow along single or multiple streamlines is interpreted in Figure 1. ...read more.

Middle

This means that the air is approaching a normal, straight leading edge at an angle to it, and therefore not working the wing to its full potential. By turning the edge by the correct angle, maximum efficiency will be obtained. The part of the front wing, which tends to change most in design, is the endplate. The primary function of this feature is to stop the high-pressure air on the top of the wing from being encouraged to roll over the end of the wing to the low-pressure air beneath, causing induced drag. Additionally, the design aim of the endplates is to discourage the dirty air created by the front tire from getting under the floor of the car. Further to these, some teams use 'splitters', which are vertical fences, attached to the undersurface of the front wing, to assist the endplates.3 Figure 11:End plate preventing high-pressure air to join low-pressure air3 3.2 Wheels The wheels of a formula one car probably induce the most drag of any part of the car. Unfortunately, have yet to be redesigned to reduce aerodynamic drag. Hindering this innovation are certain technical regulations. One such regulation is that the wheels cannot be covered. F1 wheels must to be the shape they are and this causes separation behind them. This separation causes large amounts of form drag. The amount of generated skin friction drag is minimal in comparison. So far, it appears that not much can be done to reduce form drag on the wheels, however teams have used the front wing to try to deflect the oncoming air around the front tires. Figure 12:Air flow over entire car, specifically drag on tires9 3.3 Suspension In recent years, suspension members have been streamlined into an aerofoil shape. According to the rules however, they are not allowed to produce downforce, and are simply shaped that way to reduce drag, and to keep the flow heading for the sidepods relatively undisturbed. ...read more.

Conclusion

It has been reported that additional attention will be given to helmet design. Driver's helmets can be exposed to airflows in excess of 200mph and resultantly experience buffetting effects, which hinder aerodynamics and can jeopardize driver safety.8 Engineers have tried to solve this problem by mounting aerodynamic aids onto helmets. According to a helmet designer at Simpson Race Products (SRP), aerodynamic aids perform three separate functions: 1. Preventing helmets from lifting at high speeds 2. Stopping the buffeting effect (on the driver's head and neck) 3. Cleaning up the airflow from the helmet going back to the car's rear wing SRP also claims that their fan-shaped device has the effect of adding 12 lbs of downforce at 220mph.8 A helmet with this device may be viewed in Figure 32. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Figure 32: Simpson Race Products helmet with aerodynamic device There has also been speculation that future cars might be designed with a canopy over the driver's head. This change will of course be contingent upon the agreement of technical regulations. Nevertheless, the idea is that the airflow over the top of the chassis to the rear wing would be more behaved with a canopy; resulting in a chassis design that would be aerodynamically superior to present ones.8 An additional benefit of implementing a canopy would be increased driver safety. Wing size and shape modifications are also expected to occur. Adjusting these properties will be done with the attempt to increase the efficient use of downforce and to reduce induced drag. Whatever the future changes may be the design of F1 aerodynamic features is expected to progress without limit. Although they may seem restricted by tight regulations, these regulations only add more challenge to the game that engineers must play. After all, when pushed into a corner, great thinkers devise solutions that override boundaries that had appeared to be present. One must not forget that we are still just scratching the surface on the art of aerodynamics. Do not think that the show is over - there are many magnificent findings yet to be made. ...read more.

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