Turbulence modeling effects on the aerodynamic characterizations of a NASCAR Generation 6 racecar subject to yaw and pitch changes

The characterization of a race car’s aerodynamic behavior at various yaw and pitch configurations has always been an integral part of its on-track performance evaluation in terms of lap time predictions. Although computational fluid dynamics has emerged as the ubiquitous tool in motorsports industry, a clarity is still lacking about the prediction veracity dependence on the choice of turbulence models, which is central to the prediction variability and unreliability for the Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes simulations, which is by far the most widely used computational fluid dynamics methodology in this industry. Subsequently, this paper presents a comprehensive assessment of three commonly used eddy viscosity turbulence models, namely, the realizable k − ϵ (RKE), Abe–Kondoh–Nagano k − ϵ, and shear stress transport k − ω, in predicting the aerodynamic characteristics of a full-scale NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race car under various yaw and pitch configurations, which was never been explored before. The simulations are conducted using the steady Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes approach with unstructured trimmer cells. The tested yaw and pitch configurations were chosen in consultation with the race teams such that they reflect true representations of the race car orientations during cornering, braking, and accelerating scenarios. The study reiterated that the prediction discrepancies between the turbulence models are mainly due to the differences in the predictions of flow recirculation and separation, caused by the individual model’s effectiveness in capturing the evolution of adverse pressure gradient flows, and predicting the onset of separation and subsequent reattachment (if there be any). This paper showed that the prediction discrepancies are linked to the computation of the turbulent eddy viscosity in the separated flow region, and using flow-visualizations identified the areas on the car body which are critical to this analysis. In terms of race car aerodynamic performance parameter predictions, it can be reasonably argued that, excluding the prediction of the %Front prediction, shear stress transport is the best choice between the three tested models for stock-car type race car Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes computational fluid dynamics simulations as it is the only model that predicted directionally correct changes of all aerodynamic parameters as the race car is either yawed from the 0° to 3° or pitched from a high splitter-ground clearance to a low one. Furthermore, the magnitude of the shear stress transport predicted delta force coefficients also agreed reasonably well with test results.


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  • Accession Number: 01726005
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 20 2019 4:25PM