Range Rovers, Detroit and getting noticed
I've been busy finalising the computer simulation phase of my project, moving from looking at very simple vehicle models and learning some fundamental lessons, through to a fully detailed model of a Range Rover - the same car I used for my full scale tests.
From now on, it's all about analysis and writing. The most exciting event in the last few months has been attending the SAE World Congress in Detroit. I am the main organiser for the aerodynamics sessions at this annual event, and this year we had 44 papers presented over three days. These included some work in the same area as my research (though not as advanced!). I also presented a paper applying the same simulation technique as I'm using for rear surface soiling to simulating the wetting of brake disks. This was well-received and selected for publication in the SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars; not a journal that scores well academically, but a great venue if you want an article to be read by people in industry.
Aerodynamics, mud and a visit to Boston
I am the Technical Specialist for Computational Aerodynamics at Jaguar Land Rover. My main areas of responsibility are the processes we use for aerodynamics simulation, helping designs meet their drag targets for efficiency, lift targets for handling etc, developing new methods and ensuring that we are undertaking the research we need for the future.
I also look after a research theme in the Programme for Simulation Innovation (PSi) based at Loughborough University, which is researching approaches to simulating problems in automotive development which combine different physical processes.
Since I’ve been at Jaguar Land Rover, aerodynamics has been my main focus, though I undertook the initial methods development work for the aeroacoustics simulation process used in NVH, and over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in how we use virtual methods to simulate the problems associated with water and dirt management: how we make sure that vision is maintained through the front side glass and that the build-up of dirt on vehicles does not compromise vision, visibility or aesthetics.
My career in aerodynamics started with British Rail’s Research Division back in 1989. I had started there as a graduate trainee in 1987, after graduating from Leicester Polytechnic in 1987 with a degree in Physics and Maths, and was lucky enough to get my final placement with the Aerodynamics Team. I ended up staying there until 1996, working on early applications of CFD to the aerodynamics of rail vehicles and infrastructure, which included work on the Channel Tunnel design.
I moved into the automotive industry in 1996, joining MIRA. I worked on a wide range of projects, including: automotive aerodynamics development, wind loading of novel antennae systems and reducing the drag of Olympic swimmers.
I am a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Physicist, the Chair of the Vehicle Aerodynamics Activity at the SAE, Chair of the EPSRC National Wind Tunnel Facility (NWTF) Advisory Board, and the Vice Chair of the European Car Aerodynamics Research Association (ECARA.)
I have a passion for aerodynamics and simulation. This is something that I have worked on through my whole career to date. It amazes me that after 27 years there is still so much to learn. My ambition is to continue to learn new things about this fascinating area of science and engineering that can help us develop better, more sustainable cars that our customers will love.
“Unsteady flow, vehicle surface contamination and aerodynamic drag.”
When cars are driven on wet roads, or in the rain, the spray they throw up from their tyres is a mixture of water and dirt. This, under the influence of the aerodynamic flow around the vehicle, tends to get deposited on vehicle surfaces. This is particularly acute for cars like SUVs, crossovers, estates and hatchbacks, which have a blunt rear silhouette. From a customer’s point of view, the rear screen will get dirty quite quickly, necessitating regular use of the rear wash-wipe; rear cameras may not provide a clear image after only a few journeys; they may also get their hands and clothes dirty as they open and close the tailgate.
My work on this EngD project aims to provide a new virtual process for simulating this problem, so we can address it early in the design process. It will also give us a deeper insight into what’s happening, which we can use to make our initial designs better to start with.
Last term was dominated by my international placement: a three-week visit to Exa Corp in Boston, (USA), the suppliers of the software I’m using in my research. This was a fascinating visit, which gave me the chance to discuss issues with the code physics team and work on a test case, which I have subsequently written up for a journal paper.
Taking three weeks away from my day job, and home, was quite a stretch, but very worthwhile. Also, it helped that Boston is a great city and I definitely visited at the right time, with the trees providing fabulous autumn colours.
As I move into the fourth and final year of my EngD, the focus is shifting to an intense period of writing, as well as finishing off my analytical work.
Adrian is a fourth year EngD student with the sustainable Materials and Manufacturing group.
He is sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) where he is the Technical Specialist for Computational Aerodynamics.
Spring term: Simulating tyre spray from a single wheel on a simple research geometry, showing its impact on the rear surface of the model.