Tire aerodynamics with actual tire geometry, road contact and tire deformation pose tough computational challenges. The challenges include (1) the complexity of an actual tire geometry with longitudinal and transverse grooves, (2) the spin of the tire, (3) maintaining accurate representation of the boundary layers near the tire while being able to deal with the flow-domain topology change created by the road contact and tire deformation, and (4) the turbulent nature of the flow. A new space–time (ST) computational method, “ST-SI-TC-IGA,” is enabling us to address these challenges. The core component of the ST-SI-TC-IGA is the ST Variational Multiscale (ST-VMS) method, and the other key components are the ST Slip Interface (ST-SI) and ST Topology Change (ST-TC) methods and the ST Isogeometric Analysis (ST-IGA). The VMS feature of the ST-VMS addresses the challenge created by the turbulent nature of the flow, the moving-mesh feature of the ST framework enables high-resolution flow computation near the moving fluid–solid interfaces, and the higher-order accuracy of the ST framework strengthens both features. The ST-SI enables moving-mesh computation with the tire spinning. The mesh covering the tire spins with it, and the SI between the spinning mesh and the rest of the mesh accurately connects the two sides of the solution. The ST-TC enables moving-mesh computation even with the TC created by the contact between the tire and the road. It deals with the contact while maintaining high-resolution flow representation near the tire. Integration of the ST-SI and ST-TC enables high-resolution representation even though parts of the SI are coinciding with the tire and road surfaces. It also enables dealing with the tire–road contact location change and contact sliding. By integrating the ST-IGA with the ST-SI and ST-TC, in addition to having a more accurate representation of the tire geometry and increased accuracy in the flow solution, the element density in the tire grooves and in the narrow spaces near the contact areas is kept at a reasonable level. We present computations with the ST-SI-TC-IGA and two models of flow around a rotating tire with road contact and prescribed deformation. One is a simple 2D model for verification purposes, and one is a 3D model with an actual tire geometry and a deformation pattern provided by the tire company. The computations show the effectiveness of the ST-SI-TC-IGA in tire aerodynamics.
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