July 3, 2008

Turbulence segregation

For a long time I have been seeking a clear explanation of what all those bargeboards hanging from the side of Formula 1 cars are for. Finally a clear simple illustration...

In this video from Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport aside from the slick virtual studio explanations of the basics of the BMW Sauber aerodynamic workings and data points such as "the bottom of the car is a wing with about 53 square feet of area which provides 45% of the downforce" lies the answer to my question about the bargeboards. 

I direct you to the end of the video (about 1:10) where the invisible, self generated aerodynamic vortexes the modern F1 car travels in are visualized. 

The blue stream is a clean flux channel that, from the nose to the rear wing, is responsible for the main downforce pressure.
 In yellow behind the tail is a powerful low pressure area which sucks air from under the car increasing the efficiency of the bottom wing. 
Finally in red is the turbolent air from the tires which is kept from interfering with the top (blue) stream by...you guessed it,  bargeboards!  
Simple no?

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