Blogs

Wind Tunnels Are Not Perfect

Much has been made of the CFD-only strategy recently abandoned by the Virgin Racing Formula 1 team as an admission that CFD is responsible for the team's poor performance. Whether this is in fact the case is open for debate. I believe VR's poor performance is due to a general lack of funding across many disciplines not just aerodynamics, but that's another story. Anyway, as a counter to those who think wind tunnel testing is essentially flawless, consider the recent problems Ferrari have experienced with their wind tunnel.

Ferrari F150 F150th Italia Launch: Wind tunnel woes were to follow

New Strategy = CFD + Wind Tunnel

The Virgin Racing (VR) Formula 1 team are parting ways with their CFD guru Nick Wirth after a poor start to the 2011 F1 season and a dismal first season in 2010. Most of the heat for VR's poor performance (wrongly in my opinion) has been laid at the feet of its CFD-only strategy advocated by Wirth. I argued in a recent blog post that the root cause of VR's problems are more likely a general lack of funding, rather than its CFD strategy.

VR Looking for a Wind Tunnel Like Red Bull's?

Fake Real Wireframe Models

What happens when you take a virtual model, in this case a wireframe car model, into the real world? Besides blowing people's minds you get a surreal look that is sure to draw attention to your cause - often advertising. But who cares when it looks this good?

Fake Wireframe Subaru ImprezaFake Wireframe Subaru Impreza: Benedict Radcliffe's "Modern Japanese Classic"

Mercedes GP F1 Bares All

The only chance you'll usually get to see the secrets of a Formula 1 car is in the aftermath of a racing incident (otherwise known as a crash) just before the obligatory veil of secrecy in the form of a tarp cover is hurriedly thrown over the exposed secrets. Even then it is usually up for debate and difficult to discern what purpose the mangled carbon fiber might have performed prior to the incident. So we are indeed privileged that Mercedes GP recently commissioned an exploded view of one of their cars revealing many of the inner workings of their prized design.

Is CFD Flawed?

There is a high profile debate going on in the motor racing media and motor racing discussion forums that Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is flawed. The proof cited is the poor performance of Virgin Racing (VR) Formula 1 racecars in the 2010 F1 championship and repeated so far in this year's championship. Why is CFD deemed responsible for this sorry state of affairs? Because VR have proclaimed that the aerodynamic design of its cars forgoes wind tunnel testing and only uses CFD. What if the CFD-only strategy is merely a symptom rather than the cause of the problems at VR?

Barefoot Running: Springs, Dampers, and Pressure

I'm a little off topic with this post - more structural mechanics than fluid mechanics. Normal service will resume shortly, but in the mean time, I have to admit it - I'm a recovering barefoot runner. Recovering in the sense that no matter what I've tried up to now, whenever I run fast or long in barefoot shoes (oxymoron I know, bare with me) I end up with calf muscles that are so sore I can't run for days afterwards. Well I thought it was way past time to mine my engineering knowledge for some insight, and this is what I came up with.

Wind Turbine Comparison Study

In an effort to offset electrical load and decrease its carbon footprint, the city of Reno, Nevada is investigating various types of wind turbines (and photovoltaic solar cells too).

Green Energy DashboardReno's Green Energy Dashboard

Computational Fluid Dynamics News Network

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Computational Fluid Dynamics News Network - CFDNN - the world's first 24/7 TV channel dedicated to all things CFD. Like other 24 hour news shows, CFDNN will provide an addictive mix of news, technology, weather, entertainment, gossip, opinion, movies, and sports, but all viewed through a CFD prism. I guarantee you'll never have seen anything like it.


Example of CFDNN TV: Redbot roving report

Modeling Traffic and Crowd Flows

What do traffic and crowds have in common? I'll give you a hint - they both flow. In fact they flow so much that the same governing principles at play in fluid flow can also be extended to simulate traffic flow and the motion of dense crowds.

Electric Vehicle + Wind Turbine + Kite = Wind Explorer

What do get if you cross an electric vehicle with a wind turbine and a kite? The eco-friendly car Wind Explorer. Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer, the brains behind Wind Explorer, recently caught the attention of Popular Science and others when they successfully drove 5,000 km across Australia in their one-of-a-kind car.

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