Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Malta, 16-18 July, 2012.
The lasting high fuel cost has recently inspired resurgence in drag reduction research for vehicles, which calls for a thorough understanding of the vehicle wake. The simplified Ahmed vehicle model is characterized by controllable flow separation, thus especially suitable for this purpose. In spite of a considerable number of previous investigations, our knowledge of flow around this model remains incomplete. This work aims to revisit turbulent flow structure behind this model. Two rear slant angles, i.e., α = 25º and 35º, of the model were examined, representing two distinct flow regimes. The Reynolds number was 5.26×104 based on the model height (H) and incident flow velocity. Using particle image velocimetry (PIV), flow was measured with and without a gap (g/H = 0.174) between the vehicle underside and ground in three orthogonal planes, viz. the x-z, x-y and y-z planes, where x, y and z are the coordinates along longitudinal, transverse and spanwise directions, respectively. The flow at g/H = 0 serves as an important reference for the understanding of the highly complicated vehicle wake (g/H ≠ 0). While reconfirming the well documented major characteristics of the mean flow structure, both instantaneous and time-averaged PIV data unveil a number of important features of the flow structure, which have not been previously reported. As such, considerably modified flow structure models are proposed for both regimes. The time-averaged velocities, second moments of fluctuating velocities and vorticity components are presented and discussed, along with their dependence on g/H in the two distinct flow regimes.