Inspiring Engineering Lecture Series: HAAS Formula 1 Team

Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Building 4, 4-370
182 MEMORIAL DR (REAR), Cambridge, MA 02139

Computational Fluid Dynamics and Aerodynamic Development in Formula 1

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is pleased to be hosting an Inspiring Engineering Lecture by HAAS F1 Engineers Thomas Ober SM ’10, PhD ’13 & Charles Jenckes.

Formula One (F1) aerodynamic development is both extraordinarily competitive and yet highly regulated by the sanctioning body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). Three main tools are used by F1 teams for aerodynamic development; scale model wind tunnel testing, CFD simulations, and on track testing. Each tool is limited in its use by the FIA to control costs. The dominant tool for F1 development remains the wind tunnel. The FIA limits the number of wind-on hours each team may use and limits the size of the model to a maximum of 60%. CFD simulations are limited to the number of core-hours that may be used in an eight-week period. Track testing is limited to data that may be acquired during one of the FIA tests or on a race weekend. Each aerodynamic tool provides a piece of the developmental picture, but only when used together can the clearest understanding of aerodynamic performance be achieved.  This presentation will discuss the limits and uses of CFD in the overall aerodynamic development process and show an example of one analytical tool and its use in understanding a key flow structure.

State of the art simulations of high Reynolds, lower Mach flows typical are un-steady as the flow structures are highly time dependent. The restrictions that the FIA places on CFD core-hours limits the type of CFD simulations used in F1, and thus how the simulations are used. The majority of the CFD simulations run in F1 are RANS. CFD is primarily used as a flow visualization tool to allow the aerodynamicists to more efficiently design parts for wind tunnel testing. The primary challenge is to provide simulations that have reasonable accuracy, that are of extremely low computational cost, and with quick turnaround times. This unique application of fluid simulation will be discussed and results will be shown for a non-proprietary generic open wheel car.  

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