Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,728,960 articles and books

Aero Meets Auto. (Design).



Here's how Ford is taking technology pioneered by the aircraft industry to help design and engineer better cars. And so Far as the Ford researchers know, they are the First in the auto industry to be doing it.

Using a wind tunnel wind tunnel, apparatus for studying the interaction between a solid body and an airstream. A wind tunnel simulates the conditions of an aircraft in flight by causing a high-speed stream of air to flow past a model of the aircraft (or part of an aircraft) being tested.  for the purpose of product development is certainly nothing new in the aircraft industry. The coefficient of friction coefficient of friction
n. pl. coefficients of friction
The ratio of the force that maintains contact between an object and a surface and the frictional force that resists the motion of the object.
 and other aerodynamic aspects in aircraft are more important than simply miles per gallon Noun 1. miles per gallon - the distance traveled in a vehicle powered by one gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel
unit, unit of measurement - any division of quantity accepted as a standard of measurement or exchange; "the dollar is the United States unit of
 (i.e., flight is about more than fuel efficiency). And although auto manufacturers have long been using high-velocity blown air as a means by which they can check out the aerodynamic attributes of body designs (often using such things as smoke that streaks along the surface, thereby providing visual cues as to how smooth things are-or aren't), arguably ar·gu·a·ble  
adj.
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.

2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law.
, the plane manufacturers have an experiential advantage in this wind tunnel arena.

One of the best places to learn about how to do something better is somewhere else. That is, instead of looking at how your competitors are doing something (which is, in effect, the same place where you are, but with a different address), it can be advantageous to view the practices in other industries. And this is what the people at Ford's Scientific Research Laboratory did. When it came to wind tunnel tests, they looked to the aircraft industry. (*)

Drilling & Plumbing.

One of the ways by which the researchers at the Ford Dearborn Proving Grounds
Proving Grounds is a third season episode of Beast Wars. Plot
Blackarachnia is growing steadily more annoyed with the tension between her and the Maximals.
 measure pressure build-up on surfaces is through the use of what are called "pressure ports," which involves precise hole drilling on a surface. As Dr. Patsy Coleman, senior technical specialist at the Scientific Research Laboratory puts it, "If you measure pressure on a passenger. side window, for example, you'd first remove the glass, replace it with a metal or plastic plate, and then carefully drill the holes and plumb each to pressure ports, or taps." This drilling and plumbing for the side window (which involves 120 holes), she says, may require a person to spend a week doing the setup.

The information obtained from these pressure ports is good. But there are, a few drawbacks. For one thing, there is the time involved for setup. For another, it is an intrusive process (there may be some surfaces that you can't replace with a plate and you might not want to have something with holes in it when you are done). And the data obtained relates to the points, and there may be things happening between the points, as in:

One might not catch those upswings, as the point-to point information seems right.

A Period Piece.

So, back to the aerospace approach. One of the means by which they obtain pressure data is through the use of an optical imaging technique that's made possible through the deployment of a ruthenium-based paint that's sourced from Boeing. (For those of you who have forgotten your periodic table, that element, Ru, has an atomic weight atomic weight, mean (weighted average) of the masses of all the naturally occurring isotopes of a chemical element, as contrasted with atomic mass, which is the mass of any individual isotope.  of 44; it is a member of the platinum group--which explains why, when asked what the paint costs, Mark Waiter, a product manager for Sverdrup Technology, which provides asset management of the climatic wind tunnels and cold rooms at the Dearborn Proving Ground for Ford, simply states that it is a whole lot more expensive than the house paint that you might buy at K-mart. A word about Sverdrup. Technology. It was established in 1950 in order to support the development and operation of the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center--which happens to be the largest aeronautical aer·o·nau·tic   also aer·o·nau·ti·cal
adj.
Of or relating to aeronautics.



aero·nau
 testing complex in the U.S. Among Sverdrup's clients are NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
NASA
 in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Independent U.S.
, Lockheed Martin For the former company, see .

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a leading multinational aerospace manufacturer and advanced technology company formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta.
, and Boeing. Clea rly, these folks know more than a little about wind tunnel testing.)

One of the differences between aircraft testing and automotive testing is that whereas the aircraft personnel are interested at what goes on at speeds of 600 mph or so, Ford is more interested in, say, wind noise at 70 mph. So there had to be modifications made to the chemistry of the paint that is used in aerospace in order to obtain the results that they're looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 at Ford. Coleman, by the way, is a chemist.

A bit of chemistry. If you had a surface painted with the pressure sensitive paint and placed it in a nitrogen atmosphere, it would glow brightly (assuming, of course, that you were observing this with the appropriate optical setup). Oxygen quenches the luminescence luminescence, general term applied to all forms of cool light, i.e., light emitted by sources other than a hot, incandescent body, such as a black body radiator. . But cars don't drive in pure nitrogen or pure oxygen atmospheres. But the luminescent lu·mi·nes·cent  
adj.
Capable of, suitable for, or exhibiting luminescence.



[Latin lmen, l
 and quenching quenching

Rapid cooling, as by immersion in oil or water, of a metal object from the high temperature at which it is shaped. Quenching is usually done to maintain mechanical properties that would be lost with slow cooling.
 aspects still hold.

A Quicker Process.

Now for how the vehicle aerodynamics aerodynamics, study of gases in motion. As the principal application of aerodynamics is the design of aircraft, air is the gas with which the science is most concerned.  are measured in the Ford wind tunnel with the paint. If the measurements are to be done on a real or concept vehicle, technicians first apply a thin sheet of adhesive plastic to the area of interest, such as the driver's side window. If this is going to be done on a scale model, then this step is ignored. (The plastic peels off of the vehicle and the underlying surface is cleaned up with glass cleaner; the paint would be tough to remove--and when talking about full-sized products, chances are, some other people within the organization want the vehicle for other purposes, purposes that probably are better served without a sickly yellow painted surface.) A white primer is applied. Then, using a touch-up spray gun, the area is painted. Coleman says that the paint must be smooth and even. How is this achieved? Through good hand-eye coordination hand-eye coordination Eye-hand coordination Surgery Oculomanual synchronization, required by surgeons, especially for laparoscopic surgery. See Laparoscopic surgery, Paradoxical movement.  of the person with the spray gun. Once the surface is painted, black locator points, or targets, are affixed af·fix  
tr.v. af·fixed, af·fix·ing, af·fix·es
1. To secure to something; attach: affix a label to a package.

2.
 to the surface because tw o separate images are taken of the surface (one at ambient temperature Outside temperature at any given altitude, preferably expressed in degrees centigrade.  and pressure; one at tunnel velocity) and these points are used to coordinate the images.

(*) In this case, the looking to another industry was rather simple. It seems that a person who had been working at McDonnell-Douglas, which is now part of Boeing, who is familiar with the paint took a job at Ford.

The surface is illuminated with light that passes through blue filters. Setting up the lights so there is even illumination takes the greatest amount of time--although the time involved is on the order of a couple of hours, not days. The CCD camera See digital camera.  views the surface through a red filter. The camera has a 1,024 x 1,024-pixel field. The camera is linked to a computer that acquires and processes the information, and displays the results in (near) real-time. If you look at the surface, you wouldn't be able to see the colors that show up on the screen. There, areas of the greatest air pressure show up as red. These areas are the ones where there is likely to be the greatest wind noise. By being able to get this information comparatively quickly (say, in 15 minutes), designers and engineers are able to make modifications, then run other tests.

As mentioned, the conventional pressure tap approach provides good information. But Mark Walter points out that while there are 120 points collected on a window from the pressure taps, the paint is more comprehensive: they're generally viewing an area of that size with 300 x 700 pixels, which translates to 210,000 points. This digital data lends itself to comparisons with the results of computer-based tests run with computational fluid dynamics Computational fluid dynamics

The numerical approximation to the solution of mathematical models of fluid flow and heat transfer. Computational fluid dynamics is one of the tools (in addition to experimental and theoretical methods) available to solve
 (CFD CFD - Computational Fluid Dynamics ) software, which can help lead to more digital-based and less physical-based testing--the sort of thing that the aircraft industry is doing more and more of.

RELATED ARTICLE: Not This isn't a picture of a new Thun derbird in a body shop. It is actually as T-Bird being used for demonstration purposes, It's been determined that more comprehensive-and much faster-wind noise issues can be discovered through the use of pressure sensitive paint during product development rather than using traditional techniques. Testing is done under temperature-controlled conditions in a wind tunnel. Data is obtained by a camera that is connected to a computer system that calculates areas of air pressure by measuring the amount of luminescence on the surfaces. And once the testing is completed, the thin adhesive-backed plastic that masks the car is peeled off and the T-Bird is ready to roll.

A Big Wind Wind tunnel #5 at the Dearborn Proving Grounds where pressure sensitive paint testing is done has a test section that measures 28 x 14 x 30 ft. The room features temperature control [from 75[degrees] to 140[degrees] F]. the temperature at which the testing is done isn't as important as having a consistent temperature. The air speed is generated by a fan with a 10-ft. diameter blade that's. powered by a 1,250-hp motor.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gardner Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Ford uses aircraft industry techniques to test aerodynamics
Comment:Aero Meets Auto. (Design).(Ford uses aircraft industry techniques to test aerodynamics)
Publication:Automotive Design & Production
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:1444
Previous Article:DMC U hi-dynx-series: Complete machining in flexible serial production. (DMC U Product Line).
Next Article:Lean Even in the Lab: Yes, here is still another piece in what seems to be an endless praise of an automotive supplier that is genuinely serious...
Topics:



Related Articles
Plane digits: bringing computer technology to wind tunnel testing.
Tests hint bird tails are misunderstood.
Watching the wind blow. (Design).
IN PLANE VIEW A.V. TO HOST ANNUAL RC COMPETITION.
Anteon Corp., Dayton, Ohio, is being awarded a $9,900,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide for aeronautical sciences...
What auto can learn from aero: simulating without prototypes.
Ford's new face in NASCAR.
GE-Honda Jet Engine Launched on Two New Business Jets.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters