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Attacking the Curve: A study of the effect of concavity on aerodynamic forces associated with high speed automobiles

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Collin Hendershot

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2018

Multiple automotive rear wing models with a leading edge defined by the function y(x) = H(x/L)^{a}, where the variable a defines the concavity, H is the height of the wing, and L is the length of the wing, were 3D printed and then tested to obtain force measurements for their associated downforce and drag. From the measurements, behavioral trends between the concavity of the leading edge of the wing design, downforce, and drag were identified. The force measurements were then used to find a downforce-to-drag ratio for each wing design. The goal of automotive racing is creating downforce with a low amount of drag, therefore the wing design with the greatest downforce-to-drag ratio could be efficient for racing. Of the wings studied, the a = 4 wing design had the largest downforce-to-drag ratio, which was 4.08 ± 0.5. However, a relatively large uncertainty in the downforce-to-drag ratio measurements means at this time, results for the downforce-to-drag ratios of the wing designs are inconclusive.