Aerodynamic Testing of Road Vehicles--Open Throat Wind Tunnel Adjustment


As a simulation of road driving, wind tunnel testing of full-size vehicles produces certain errors in the aerodynamic forces, aerodynamic moments, and surface pressures. The magnitude of these errors, in general, depends on the following: a.) Flow quality, b.) Determination of the reference dynamic pressure, c.) Wind tunnel floor boundary layer, d.) Test section geometry and position of the car within that geometry, e.) Shape of the vehicle, f.) Blockage ratio: The ratio of the cross-sectional area of the vehicle to the cross-sectional area of the wind tunnel nozzle, g.) Wheel rotation, and h.) Internal flow in the model. The SAE Standards Committee, Open Throat Wind Tunnel Adjustments, had as a goal to document the knowledge of the influence of model interference on wind tunnel test results for automotive open jet wind tunnels. This document contains the following information related to this subject: a.) Design data of open throat wind tunnels, b.) A summary of published and unpublished test data, c.) Documentation and theoretical explanation of various blockage correction procedures for automotive tests, d.) Critical evaluation of blockage correction procedures, especially in relation to other influences, such as test section geometry, position of the car, floor boundary layer, etc., and e.) Recommendation of a calibration procedure to determine the effect of blockage and other influences in each individual wind tunnel.


Significant progress has been made in the field of corrections for open-jet wind tunnels since the 1994 issue of this document. The field may now be considered mature. The document has been revised to provide the most up-to-date references along with a prescribed correction procedure that can be applied to any open-jet wind tunnel.

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