Aerodynamic effects of manufacturing tolerances on a solar car
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Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
In the case of solar vehicles, since the primary necessity is to optimise the energy efficiency during motion, many efforts are addressed by designers in searching the perfect aerodynamics. It means, in particular, the minimization of the drag force at cruising speeds and an elaborated vehicle’s Computer-Aided Design (CAD) are the principal result of this activity. Despite, these efforts can be nullified by geometrical tolerances emerging from manufacturing. In this paper, the effects of tolerances introduced by composite manufacturing processes are investigated combining 3D scanning technology and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). After the solar car manufacturing, a reverse engineering process is executed with the aim to scan the vehicle’s body and compare it to the initial theoretical design. Geometric deviations are found and their aerodynamic consequences are evaluated in terms of aerodynamic losses. © Springer International Publishing AG 2017.