Taking a gander into the practical side of things.

As in most fields of science, Aerodynamics can be devided into a theoretical side and a practical side. During my time with the Punch Powertrain solar team in 2012, I’ve come into contact with both sides of the field, yet at the same time it all still felt very practical to me. My task was to minimalize both drag and lift for the Solar Car the ‘Indupol One’ so me and my colleague deepened ourselves in the basic principles of aerodynamics involving lift and drag.

When we did our simulations, we always checked a couple of important factors like transition between laminar and turbulent flow and points of separating airflow (which highly boosts drag), … and did this with certain software to do this. One of the more interesting things to check was the flow pattern around the model.

When I was testing in the windtunnel, some things we did with software could have been done in practice as well, but the flow pattern around the scale model we tested was not one of them. So I did a bit of research and came up with an interesting setup for 2D problems such as flow in pipes or flow over airfoils. The videos can be seen below:

These techniques, however a bit dated, seem very interesting, but do you think this could be applicable in a windtunnel? And more importantly, do you think this could expanded to 3D use in windtunnels?

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2 thoughts on “Taking a gander into the practical side of things.

  1. I know you can attach wool cords on an airfoil using simple household tape, these cords will visualize the airflow over your airfoil in a wind tunnel. It seems a bit cheap but it works, that way you can also distinguish e.g. laminar/turbulent region.

    • This is true, I have used this technique before in past tests so I am familiar with this. However, you have to be careful with this techinique because the wool or the tape could actually trip your laminar flow and make it turbulent prematurely, which can result in false data.

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