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Validation of PANS and effects of ground and wheel motion on the aerodynamic behaviours of a square-back van

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 March 2023

Jiabin Wang
Key Laboratory of Traffic Safety on Track of Ministry of Education, School of Traffic & Transportation Engineering, Central South University, 410075 Changsha, PR China
Guglielmo Minelli
Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg SE-41296, Sweden
Gioacchino Cafiero
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Turin, Italy
Gaetano Iuso
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Turin, Italy
Kan He
Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg SE-41296, Sweden
Branislav Basara
Advanced Simulation Technologies, AVL List GmbH, Hans-List-Platz, 8020 Graz, Austria
Guangjun Gao*
Key Laboratory of Traffic Safety on Track of Ministry of Education, School of Traffic & Transportation Engineering, Central South University, 410075 Changsha, PR China
Sinisa Krajnović
Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg SE-41296, Sweden
Email address for correspondence:


This paper presents a numerical investigation of the effects of the moving ground and rotating wheels on the turbulent flow around a 1/10 scaled square-back van model. A comprehensive comparison among the partially averaged Navier–Stokes (PANS), large eddy simulation (LES) and particle image velocimetry (PIV) involving the aerodynamic drag, the wake topology, the velocity and the Reynolds stress profiles in the wake region is conducted. The proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) and fast Fourier transform (FFT) are applied to the shear layers shedding from the trailing edges to comment on the coherent structures and their frequency content. The Reynolds number for both simulations and experiments is set to Re = 2.5 × 105 based on the inlet velocity ${U_{inf}} = 9\;\textrm{m}\;{\textrm{s}^{ - 1}}$ and the width of the model W = 0.17 m. The results show that PANS accurately predicts the flow field measured in experiments and predicted by a resolved LES, even with a low-resolution grid. The superiority of the PANS approach could provide good guidance for industrial research in predicting the turbulent flow around the square-back van model with affordable computational grids. The ground and wheel motion mechanism on the aerodynamic forces has been revealed by analysing the surface pressure distribution, the wheels’ surrounding flow, the underbody flow characteristics and the turbulent wake structures. The effects of the ground and wheel motion on the frequency, evolution and development characteristics of the wake shear layers are analysed, thus providing relevant insights for future experimental investigations of square-back van models.

JFM Papers
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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