Cranfield team F1: the front wing
Cranfield Formula 1 Team is a group design project composed of five students, each of them being responsible for the design of one part of the vehicle. The present thesis deals with the front wing design.
According to the time allowed to do the thesis and to learn the relevant software to use, three models were built: one is quite simple and is the basis of the two others. The aim was to design these three models using CAD (Catia V5, a product from Dassault Systems), to build their meshes using Gridgen (a product from Pointwise), to simulate the flow with Fluent 6.1 and finally to visualise it thanks to Fieldview 9.
The main aims of the different models are to deflect the flow from the wheels to reduce the drag created by the tyres and to create enough downforce taking care to match the FIA Formula 1 technical regulation. The design focuses on the endplates to fulfil these objectives. Having done the CFD parts, the flow pattern was studied and the efficiencies of the different devices designed were assessed. It appears that the behaviour of the flow was greatly influenced by the front wheels (which were simulated with the front wing) as expected and therefore that the design has to take account of the environment of the front wing. The endplates demonstrate their utilities as deflectors that are able to suck the flow inboard the wheels. They also show that they can be additional downforce productive devices. The loads created there are not huge but are honest compared to the surface used and to the fact the design tested has been made without optimisation.
Finally, from the results of the simulation and the flow pattern obtained, many ideas come out to improve the efficiency of the front wing.