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ISTP-16, 2005, PRAGUE



Peter Koht*, Matj Sulitka*, Zdenk Randa* * Faculty of Mechanical Engineerig, CTU in Prague Corresponding author: Keywords: Corrections in Open-Jet Test Section, Aerodynamic Drag, Open-Jet Wind Tunnels, Automotive Aerodynamics, Fluid Mechanics.

Abstract Open-Jet wind tunnels are widely used in automotive aerodynamics for simulation of forces acting on the vehicle moving on the road. However, there is some difference between wind tunnel testing and a real situation: wind tunnel jet is of finite dimensions, flow around a model is influenced by model-nozzle and modelcollector interference, etc. All of these factors cause bias of the data measured and therefore correction procedures, which are generally specific for each wind-tunnel, need to be applied. Main objective of the work was to evaluate the corrections for investigated wind tunnel which will help to obtain correct experimental data. 1 Introduction For closed test-section wind tunnels the remarkable influence of tested object size is known as long as wind tunnels are used. Contrary to this, in the case of open-jet wind tunnels this influence was for a long time considered to be negligible. Only later it was found that more factors than just clear blockage influence measured quantities in wind tunnels with open test section and that the influence of interference effects can even have bigger impact on data measured than just the influence of clear blockage. 2 Corrections in General View Aerodynamic characteristics of tested objects (models of vehicles) are expressed in the form of force coefficients as

ci = Fi Aq ,


where Fi is in general force measured, A stands for reference frontal area and q is measured dynamic pressure (representing oncoming velocity U). However, dynamic pressure, which is measured at the nozzle outflow, does not correspond with the dynamic pressure occurring in the vicinity of the tested model. Correction is usually defined via corrected dynamic pressure qcor (eq. (3)). cicor = Fi Aqcor (2)

qcor U + U 2 = = (1 + ) q U


cicor is corrected aerodynamic coefficient, U is induced velocity and is dimensionless form of induced velocity.
3 Correction Models

Mathematical approach for evaluating the corrections is based on determination of the dimensionless induced velocity at the position of the model, defined as = U/U. Area-ratio method (MIRA 1950) is based on continuity equation for incompressible flow. This method gives appropriate correction for vehicles with cD values in an intermediate range. Other methods use simple potential flow models to evaluate induced velocities, resp. corrected dynamic pressure. Lock et al. considered solid blockage factor S to be dependent on blockage factor as

S = 3 / 2


the ratio of frontal vehicle-area at nonzero yaw angle to the zero yaw case (9).
VM S ( ) = L M
1/ 2

where is tunnel shape factor (test section specific coefficient) and model shape factor (model specific coefficient) derived only for rotary symmetrical bodies. Later Mercker (1986) proposed expression for S where model shape factor is replaced by geometrical characteristics of the model (tested model of vehicle). For open jet wind tunnels Mercker also considered other factors: the influence of nozzle (N) and collector (C). According to Mercker [2] dimensionless induced velocities can be written as

AM ( ) 3/ 2 AD


S ( ) = 3 / 2

AM ( 0) AM ( =0)


4 Experimental investigations 4.1 Models

VM S = L M

1/ 2

AM 3/ 2 AD


3 RD N = Q 2 2 3/ 2 ( RD + x M ) 3 RC 2 2 3/ 2 ( RC + ( L2 MP x M ))


Two sets of road vehicle models were used for experimental investigation of blockage effects. First set is based on the MIRA notchback model (simplified model of common passenger car (PC)) with non-rotating wheels (see [5]) and second set of rectangular boxes with rounded edges (except of trailing ones) representing typical shape of vans and buses (fig. 1). Basic dimensions of RB models are 10 x 3.7 x 2.5 m (scale 1:1).

C = W


All of these equations are valid for nonyawed conditions.

3.1 Proposed modifications of the computational model towards nonzero yaw conditions

Modifications of the computational model towards nonzero yaw conditions are proposed in two ways. Generally, it is assumed, that the influence of solid blockage increases with increasing yaw angle. Impact of yaw angle to other factors (N, C) is not assumed thanks to the absence of experimental and theoretical evidence of this phenomenon for open-jet wind tunnels. First technique modifies the Merckers expression for S in a geometrical manner with respect to increasing size of frontal area of the vehicle at nonzero yaw angle (8). Second approach is based on similar modification of Locks expression for S, whereby it works with

Fig. 1. PC model geometry, RB models set and test section overview.

Determination of Blockage Correction in Open-Jet Wind Tunnel

In the case of rectangular boxes (RB) the influence of wheels was neglected. Dimensions of models in both sets were determined according to the values of area blockage ratios = {20, 12, 10, 6, 3, 2} %. All of the models were made from extruded polystyrene.
4.1 Experimental Equipment

All experiments were performed in the closed circuit wind tunnel with open test section equipped with one component strain gauge weight, which is used to measure the drag force acting on the model. Maximal speed is cca 17 m/s. Rectangular nozzle and collector both feature the area of AD(C) = 0.4125 m2 (dimensions 550 x 750 mm), nozzle contraction factor is f = 9. Length of the test section is LTS = 1500 mm. For road simulation fixed flat plate is used, whereby the central part of the plate is revolving together with the aerodynamic weight. Plate is elevated over the bottom edge of the nozzle by approx. 25 mm to eliminate the boundary layer coming from the nozzle.
4.2 Nozzle calibration

At the same time, as the side-product of those experiments aiming at the evaluation of the nozzle-calibration constant, velocity distribution at the nozzle exit was obtained. Non-uniformity of flow velocity (related to the mean velocity value) of 2.5% at U = 16.7 m/s was observed (fig. 3). Deviations of the velocity values gradually change from the plus-value deviations in the lower-left corner to the minus values in the upper-right corner of the nozzle exit.

Fig. 2. Calibration constants.

First objective was to find out the calibration constant KP of the nozzle, i.e. the relationship between pressure difference p measured along the nozzle (used to evaluate oncoming velocity) and averaged dynamic pressure at the exit of the nozzle q (with empty test section).
q = K P p


Pressure gradient at the nozzle was measured with nozzle method and plenum method, thus two calibration constants were found. In the case of so called nozzle method first pressure tap is placed in settling chamber and the second one is far downstream in the nozzle (but not so near to the nozzle exit to avoid influence of blockage), whereas if plenum method is used, the second tap is placed in plenum (atmosphere). Relation between q and p was approximated by a second degree polynomial (nozzle method), resp. first degree polynomial (plenum method) (fig. 2).

Fig. 3. Flow non-uniformity (Re = 1.7e6). After the calibration of the nozzle, experiments dealing with blockage were performed for both sets of vehicle models. Drag coefficient characteristics were measured for each model with maximal yaw angle in the range of = 30 (dependent on size of the model) with each model placed in the centre of the tests section.

4.3 Restrictions of the experimental approach

Two main restrictions of the experimental approach were due to: - nonconstant Reynolds number, - fixed plate simulation of the road. With respect to the maximum wind velocity in the wind tunnel it wasnt possible to comply with the condition of constant Reynolds number for all of the models. Accordingly models were measured for Reynolds numbers Re = 2.95e5 resp. Re = 5.5e5 for passenger car models and Re = 3.30e5 resp. Re = 6.15e5 for rectangular boxes. These values of Re are equivalent to tunnel speeds in the range of U = (10-17) m/s, which is the useable limit of the device. The effect of non-constant Re is eliminated with following procedure: Assuming constant form drag coefficient, the change in friction drag coefficient due to non-constant Re is estimated in a way suggested by G. W. Carr [4]. The change in overall drag coefficient is than obtained as sum of measured drag and difference of friction drag of the model. Road simulation via fixed plate may influence the drag of the model if boundary layer thickness doesnt fulfill the condition

Measured drag characteristics of PC models approximated by polynomials.

0,5 0,45 0,4 0 2.5 5 10 15 m 0 m 2.5 m 5 m 10 m 15 0,2 0,00 0,05 0,10 0,15 0,20 0,25

C D(D) (-)

0,35 0,3 0,25

Blockage factor (-)

Fig. 5. Approximated drag coefficients (PC).

5 Correction Functions

General correction function was proposed in the form of

cDcor = cDm K = cDm K KU KU P



< 0.1

where cDm is measured drag coefficient and K denotes the correction factor. Correction factor K consists of multiplicative coefficients representing corrections of particular influences, i. e.: blockage correction K, nozzle calibration correction KU, plenum method correction KUp.
5.1 Blockage Correction Factor


Where e is carriage gap and 1 stands for displacement thickness of ground plate. The boundary layer thickness is computed at the end of each model to verify this condition. For two smallest PC models the value of the ratio is greater than 0.1, and the data of these models isnt taken into account for correction function evaluation. No RB model fulfills the condition (11) and therefore this influence cannot be eliminated for RB models. Because of certain non-symmetry in measured characteristics of the models, values for positive and negative yaw angles are averaged for purposes of correction functions evaluation. Thus these functions are valid for both positive and negative yaw angles, although they are shown only for positive yaws.

Set of valid experimental cD values for various blockage ratios was approximated by means of Least Square Method by a second degree polynomial, which at the same time revealed the value of cD0 extrapolated to the zero blockage ratio (fig. 5). Blockage correction factor can than be expressed as:
K ( ) = cD 0 c Dapp ( )

(13) (14)

c Dapp ( ) = a 2 + b + c D 0

where cDapp() is the approximation function mentioned above.

Determination of Blockage Correction in Open-Jet Wind Tunnel

Blockage corrections for PC models

1,05 1 0,95 0,9 0,85 0,8 0,75 0,7 0,65 0,6 0 0,05 0,1 0,15 0,2

0 2.5 5 10 15

U Pl = U N



where UPl, resp. UN denotes plenum, resp. nozzle method velocity after nozzle calibration correction. Fig. 7 shows evaluated plenum method correction functions for both PC and RB models.
Blockage factor influence on plenum method
1,14 1,12 1,1 1,08 1,06 1,04 1,02 1 0,98 0 0,05 0,1 0,15 0,2 0,25 PC models RB models Polynomial (RB) Polynomial (PC)

K (-)

Blockage factor (-)

Fig. 6. Blockage correction functions for PC. As can be seen from fig. 6, the values of blockage correction for PC models are generally less than 1. For zero yaw angle correction falls from K = 1 (zero blockage) to K = 0.9 ( = 5%) and further to K = 0.76 for = 20%. For = 2.5, K = 0.85 ( = 5%) and falls to K = 0.69 for = 20%, while for greater yaw angles the value of blockage correction is smaller ( = 10, K = 0.87 for = 5%). The least values of the correction are in the case of = 5, which is quite unexpected.
5.2 Nozzle calibration correction
KUP (-)

Blockage factor (-)

Fig. 7. Influence of blockage on plenum method.

6 Comparison of computational model and experimental data

Difference between dynamic pressure q and measured pressure difference p (both nozzle and plenum method) is considered with nozzle calibration constants KP. Correction of cD to the influence of nozzle pressure-calibration constant KP is therefore:

KU =

1 KP


Proposed modification of Merckers expression of S (solid blockage) which is based on assumption that the influence of solid blockage increases with increasing yaw angle, gives values of blockage correction greater than 1.0 . In zero yaw condition it rises to cca K = 1.06 for = 20%, while for = 10, correction is K = 1.09 for the same blockage (as can be seen from fig. 8).
Modification of Merckers model for solid blockage
1,12 0

5.3 Plenum method correction

Theoretically the difference between corrected wind speeds measured by nozzle and plenum method would be close to zero (in the case of empty test section). However some influence of blockage can be found. The relative difference between corrected speeds rises up to 3 % for PC and up to 7 % for RB models with increasing blockage factor up to 20 %. If we assume, that the nozzle method is not influenced by the blockage-ratio effect, we than need to evaluate the correction to the velocity values measured by the plenum method KUp as

c Dcor/c Dm (-)


2.5 5 10 15



1,00 0,00






Blockage factor (-)

Fig. 8. Modification of Merckers method.

Contrary to this, experimentally evaluated blockage correction-functions are generally lower than 1.0 (fig. 6). Evidently, computational models valid for axial symmetry bodies are not able to involve interference effects of nozzle-model and modelcollector influences. This only confirms the necessity of experimental approach for blockage correction investigations.
7 Findings and Conclusions

[1] Carr G W, Stapleford W R. Blockage Effect in Automotive Wind-Tunnel Testing. MIRA 8600933, 1986. [2] Mercker E, Wiedemann J. On the Correction of Interference Effects in Open Jet Wind Tunnels. SAE Technical Paper 960671, 1996. [3] Mercker E, Wickern G, Wiedemann J. Contemplation of Nozzle Blockage in Open Jet Wind-Tunnels in View of Different Q-Determination Techniques. SAE Technical Paper 970136, 1997. [4] Hucho W.-H. Aerodynamics of Road Vehicles. Fourth edition, SAE, 1998; [5] Aerodynamic Testing of Road Vehicles. SAE Surface Vehicle Inform. Report J2071. s.l., 1990. s. 28.08 28.34.
1,1 1

Correction method which eliminates influence of blockage is established experimentally. Set of correction functions is valid for two basic types of on-road vehicles: passenger car (notch-back type) and vans, with yaw angle as the parameter. Influence of two methods used to determine oncoming velocity (nozzle and plenum method) is also considered. All of these factors are involved in comprehensive correction K which is proposed as multiplicative function of three independent correction coefficients: K (blockage), KU (velocity), KUp (plenum method). Evaluated blockage correction functions give values of Kfactor in the range of 1 to 0.76 with blockage ratio up to 20 % for passenger car model at zero yaw angle. With yaw angle greater than 10, the value of correction K falls below 0.75. These results stand in a certain contrast to the theoretical expectations generally valid for open testsection wind tunnels, according to which just due to the clear blockage-effect the cD measured should be corrected by a number greater than 1. Computational correction based on simple potential flow (see [2]) and using shape factors of the wind-tunnel test section [5] and Ranking ovoid as a substitution of passenger car gives the values of correction for the same case of blockage ratios in the range of K = 1 to 1.06, resp. 1 to 1.09 for the yaw angle of 10. It is therefore obvious, that computational methods are not able to catch properly the influence of model-nozzle and model-collector interference-effects and wind-tunnel corrections always need to be investigated experimentally. This project has been supported by VCJB.

CDm (-)

0,9 0,8 0,7 0,6 0,5 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0

20 % 12% 10% 6% 3% 2%
5 10 15 20 25 30 35


Fig. 9. Measured drag characteristics (RB).

1,1 1 0,9 0 2.5 5 10 15 m 0 m 2.5 m 5 m 10 m 15

C D (-)

0,8 0,7 0,6 0,5 0,00






Blockage factor (-)

Fig. 10. Drag coefficient of RB models.

1,05 1

K( ,) (-)

0,95 0,9 0,85 0,8 0,75 0,7 0 0,02 0,04 0,06 0,08 0,1 0,12 0,14 0,16 0,18 0,2 0,22 0 2.5 5 10 15

Blockage factor (-)

Fig. 11. Blockage correction for RB models.