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Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Basics of aerodynamics in F1 car

Various parts of car contributing towards aerodynamics


Limitations and conclusion

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


History of F1 & Introduction to aerodynamics

Aerodynamics has become important part of racing in latest years. Average expenditure on each of mean machine is $6,868,000(approx) Development in aerodynamics of car accelerated in late 1960s by Lotus & Ferrari. Aerodynamics is branch of fluid mechanics that deals with motion of air and other gaseous fluids and with the force acting on bodies in motion relative to such fluids With aerodynamic features embedded car has reputation of achieving high speeds with excellent handling characteristics Focus is to have optimal balance between drag & down force

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Racing Physics

Fundamental law governing is Daniel Bernoullis principal. It relates increase in flow velocity with decrease in pressure. Air flowing on lower surface travels faster than upper surface thus leading to low pressure on lower side. This pressure difference exerts downward force towards track thus increasing road grip & enabling higher speeds. Low pressure area is created between road & chassis.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula -1 cars


Drag Resistance acting on solid bodies moving through air. Drag force must be overcome by the thrust force developed by the engine. Reduction is possible by streamlining the body. Drag force must be reduced as it increases approx with the square of the speed. Therefore more the drag more is the power required, hence less economical.

F = CDAV

Where: F - Aerodynamic drag force C - Coefficient of drag D - Density of air A - Frontal area V - Velocity of object

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Front wing aerodynamics Front wing of formula1 car creates about 25% of total cars downforce. Front wing should be designed such that it creates necessary downforce as well as directs air flow over the body. With optimum settings of the front wing, they can produce 1500 lbs(approx) of downforce. Design of wing is limited by FIA regulation. Front airfoil runs through whole width of car & suspended from nose. Endplates are provided to make sure that air passes above & below the car rather around it.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Front wing and Endplates

During 1997 season Ferrari introduced flexible wing which moved closer to ground as aerodynamic force increase. According to 2001 regulations the minimum height of front wing above the ground was increased from 40mm to 100mm. Ferrari introduced center line bent front wing followed by McLaren & Renault, to compensate for loss. Endplates are designed to direct the air between both the front wheels. Some teams have decreased the width of the mainplane to provide extra wings and flaps. As front wheel moved close to chassis it overlapped with front wing creating turbulence.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Front wing and Endplates Front is closer to the track to obtain as much advantage from ground effect as possible. Endplates are changed frequently in design to stop high pressure air on top to roll over the wing to low pressure air beneath causing drag. Endplates discourage dirty air created by the front tyre from getting under the car and brakes. Cooling of the brake disc is important as high temperature of order of 1000C is reached. Formula1 car takes mere 4seconds to come to halt from 350km/h changing temperature from 400-1000C

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Rear wing About 1/3rd of the cars downforce come from the rear wing assembly. Rear wings are changed from track to track since it creates most of the drag. Rear wing allows 20 possible settings and front wing allows 100 possible settings. On tracks with many tight corners as in Monaco, the wings are set steep, where as on tracks with many straights as in Monza the wings are set flat. Normally rear wings comprise of two sets of flaps connected to endplates.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Rear wing Splitting of wings is seen to overcome flow separation due to adverse pressure gradients. Multiple wings are used to gain more down force. FIA regulations(2001) has limited to 3 wings. Rear wing is designed to provide an enormous downforce focused to rear tyres. Rear wing should be designed for optimal ratio of drag to downforce. Optimal wings can create as much as 3000lbsof downforce. Rear wing is not as efficient as front wing as air becomes turbulent as it travels towards rear wing.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Diffuser Diffuser is present below the rear wing. It works opposite to both front and rear wing, instead of pushing the air up it sucks the air up. The volume of the diffuser increases towards to the end of the race car. It consists of many splitters. It is designed to control air flow underneath the car. The suction effect results in low pressure area below the car thereby increasing the downforce. Lot of time can be gained by pulling more air towards the diffuser. Angle of convergence and dimensions are restricted by regulations

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Nose cone Tyrell introduced first car with high nose cone in 1990. Nose cone splits air in front portion to provide enough air for brakes. At first sight it may not look as it produces downforce, but air passing over the nose cone is guided to floor of the car so that enough air is available for the diffuser to produce the suction effect. Disadvantage of high nose cone is that it adds on more weight and its inefficiency to produce downforce. Weight defect is overcome by making use of CFRP as nose cone material. High nose cone may cause visibility problem for drivers.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Suspension

Suspension members are streamlined into an aerofoil shape to reduce drag. According to regulations suspensions are not allowed to produce downforce. They aerodynamically designed in order to allow air to pass through them undisturbed.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Barge boards The piece of bodywork mounted vertically between the front wheels and the start of the sidepods to help smooth the airflow around the sides of the car. If another car is driving in front, it produces turbulence that can drastically reduce the effectiveness of the front wing. This is the socalled "Dirty air" effect. Under ideal conditions the front wing produces 25% of the cars total down force.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


A wooden plank is provided from front to rear under side of the car to check whether the car is running too close to the track. The thickness of the plank provided is 10mm. If the wear in the plank is more than 1mm violation of rules is caused leading to penalty. Wheels are the part of car which produces most of the drag force. To avoid this end plates are provided on the front wing so that air flows around the front wheel rather than directly on to it.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


Conclusion Though the recent regulations have restricted the constructors ideal working, treating it as a challenge new technique designs are being developed making Formula1 car a mean machine. Composite materials are being used to make body parts leading to reduction in weight &higher efficiency. Extensive crash tests are conducted so that large amount of collision force is absorbed by the car body part undergoing plastic deformation. Recent development in tyre technology, and using different tyres for different tracks has taken it to higher level.

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars


References: www.f1technical.net www.f1nutter.co.uk www.formula1.com www.howstuffworks.com (formula1 cars) www.fluent.com (aerodynamics in F1 cars)

Applied Aerodynamics in Formula-1 cars

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