Theory and Applications of Aerodynamics for Ground Vehicles



Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Silver Award Recipient, Professional & Technical Category

This best-selling book provides an introduction to ground vehicle aerodynamics and methodically guides the reader through the various aspects of the subject. Those needing specific information or a refresher can easily jump to the material of interest. There is a particular emphasis on various vehicle types (passenger cars, trucks, trains, motorcycles, race cars, etc.). However, the book is focused on cars and trucks, which are the most common vehicles in the speed range in which the study of ground vehicle aerodynamics is beneficial.

Readers will gain a fundamental understanding of the topic, which will help them design vehicles that have improved aerodynamics; this will lead to better fuel efficiency, improved performance, and increased passenger comfort.

The author’s basic approach to the presentation of the material is complemented with review questions, application questions, exercises, and suggested projects at the end of most of the chapters, which helps the reader apply the information presented, either in the classroom or for self-study.

Aside from offering a solid understanding of ground vehicle aerodynamics, the book also offers more thorough study of several key topics. One such topic is car-truck interaction, when one vehicle (usually the smaller one) is overtaking the other. There is a direct and instant benefit in terms of safety on the highway from understanding the forces at play when one vehicle passes the other in the same direction and sense.

Chapters Examine:

  • Drag
  • Noise and vehicle soiling
  • Wind tunnels and road/track testing
  • Numerical methods
  • Vehicle stability and control
  • Vehicle sectional design
  • Large vehicles: trucks, trailers, buses, trains
  • Severe service and off-road vehicles
  • Race cars and convertibles
  • Motorcycles
  • Concept vehicles

View Dr. Obidi's Video Chapter Summaries:

  • 2014-03-20
  • Published by SAE International with a Product Code of R-392, ISBN of 978-0-7680-2111-0, and 288 pages in a hardbound binding. Table of Contents
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"From my many years of reviewing of textbooks, I found this particular title easy to read, and fundamentally easy to grasp the concepts it covers. The author took his time to explain the theory of aerodynamics necessary to understand preliminary and detailed design of ground vehicles.

Dr. Obidi captured the noise produced in vehicles as he categorizes them in terms of aerodynamic, environmental and interactive noise production. His explanations are apt for the audiences he is targeting, undergraduate and Master’s degree students. The book is very applicable for industry use as well. The material presented on vehicle-to-vehicle interactions on the road is helpful, as is the vehicle-to-environment interaction. The focus on heat transfer, internal aerodynamics and cooling systems is important to a holistic design concept.

In all, this book is useful to mechanical, aerospace, civil, design engineers, and even petroleum engineers who often deal with wind-wave interactions. "

Christopher Odetunde, Ph.D., MAIAA, MAABI, MNSE, COREN (Texas A&M)
Professor and Chair/HOD, Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering
Kwara State University

"As governments and consumers around the world are increasingly demanding greener transportation, auto manufacturers are actively re-engineering vehicles to reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. All vehicle systems – engine, body, chassis, transmission, and others – are up for modification on engineers’ drawing boards.

For a car cruising at highway speed a majority of fuel is spent in overcoming aerodynamic air resistance. The portion of fuel spent in working against aerodynamic drag force is even greater for trucks. As a result, vehicle manufacturers invest an immense amount of effort and fine engineering talent in making vehicle shapes as aerodynamically streamlined as possible.

Vehicle aerodynamics is an advanced engineering topic as it is based on the complex concepts and laws of fluid mechanics. Consequently, new engineers typically require many years of learning and experience to become expert aerodynamists.

This book starts by introducing key aerodynamic concerns such as drag, lift, noise, soiling, stability, handling, and others. Obidi starts explaining these aspects with concepts familiar to young mechanical and aeronautical engineers such as Bernoulli’s theorem, laminar and turbulent flows before steadily progressing to cover advanced topics such as induced drag and interference drag. Next, two other topics that practicing aerodynamists need to address are discussed – wind noise and soiling. The theory of aeroacoustics is introduced, again at a conceptual level suitable for young engineers, before discussing practicalities such as sources of sound in vehicles and noise attenuation technologies.

In a later chapter, the book provides a detailed discussion of the effect of aerodynamic forces on the dynamics and stability of the vehicle. Obidi also describes the cooling system and thermal aspects of vehicles that are closely linked to aerodynamics and usually designed in close conjunction.

The book then discusses methods of aerodynamic investigation, starting first with experimental techniques followed by computational methods. The wind tunnel is to an aerodynamist what a scalpel is to a surgeon, and appropriately Obidi provides elaborate discussion of various types of wind tunnels, typical considerations and constraints in wind tunnel experiments, related theory, and measuring apparatus. Computational methods have become another indispensable tool for aerodynamists and the book covers both computational concepts such as pre-processing and turbulence modeling, as well as prevalent Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software packages.

After covering the key concepts and investigation methods, the book delves into the main topic of interest to practicing engineers – vehicle design. Obidi explains effects of vehicle shape in various locations such as front and rear, on aerodynamic performance. Effects of shape changes on aerodynamics are also clearly explained, equipping the engineer with knowledge to make crucial design decisions.

Cars are not the only vehicles that require careful aerodynamics engineering, hence, several chapters in the book are dedicated to the specific aerodynamic design concerns of trucks, trailers, buses, trains, off-highway vehicles, race cars, motorcycles and other ground vehicles. Obidi’s coverage of the wide gamut of ground transportation vehicles is especially noteworthy, and prepares the new engineer not only for addressing needs of various vehicles, but also equips him or her with a wide perspective that strengthens core concepts by providing the opportunity to study key principles from multiple angles.

The book is written using concepts familiar to a young engineer reader who will quickly find his or her aerodynamics knowledge expanding at a comfortable pace. Young engineers will especially appreciate that at the end of each chapter Obidi provides a summary, glossary of key concepts, review questions, application questions, exercises and project ideas.

The book is both suitable as a textbook for a full length undergraduate course on ground vehicle aerodynamics and as a learning tool for practicing engineers who are new to the field of aerodynamics. In either case, the book will significantly shorten the learning curve needed by new engineers in becoming expert aerodynamists."

Sandeep Sovani, Ph.D.
Director, Global Automotive Industry
ANSYS Inc, Ann Arbor, MI

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