Conference article

Improved Aerodynamic Prediction Through Coupled System and CFD Models

Ed Tate
Exa, USA

Joaquin Gargoloff
Exa, USA

Brad Duncan
Exa, USA

Hubertus Tummescheit
Modelon, USA

John Griffin
Modelon, USA

John Batteh
Modelon, USA

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Published in: Proceedings of the 12th International Modelica Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, May 15-17, 2017

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 132:4, p. 47-53

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Published: 2017-07-04

ISBN: 978-91-7685-575-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


High accuracy predictions of aerodynamic forces using computational fluid dynamics requires accurate geometry. The aerodynamic forces on the vehicle body affects the vehicle posture or the vehicle position with respect to ground. When a vehicle is cruising, the change in vehicle posture is usually relatively small with respect to the size of a vehicle. However, these small changes in geometry can lead to significant correlation differences in drag and airflow structure. To address this issue, a coupled simulation approach was developed to predict vehicle posture in typical cruise and wind tunnel test conditions. This coupled approach was tested using PowerFLOW and Modelon’s Vehicle Dynamics Library (VDL). In this approach, the aerodynamic forces on the body are used to calculate the movement of the body and geometry. This modified geometry is then used to recalculate the operating aerodynamic forces. The modified geometry shows changes in total force, the distribution of forces, and the structure of the airflow over the vehicle. The results provided by correct geometry under load conditions offer better correlation to test and provide car makers with the improved accuracy to confidently improve real world fuel economy.


Aerodynamics, suspension, co-simulation


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