Snow Contamination of Simplified Automotive Bluff Bodies: A Comparison Between Wind Tunnel Experiments and Numerical Modeling
Paper in proceeding, 2022

We describe experiments and numerical modeling of snow surface contamination on two simplified automotive bluff bodies: The Ahmed body and a wedge. The purpose was twofold: 1) To obtain well defined experimental results of snow contamination on simple geometries; 2) To propose a numerical modeling approach for snow contamination. The experiments were performed in a climatic wind tunnel using a snow cannon at -15 °C and the results show that the snow accumulation depends on the aerodynamics of the studied bluff bodies. Snow accumulates on surfaces in proximity to the aerodynamic wakes of the bodies and characteristic snow patterns are obtained on side surfaces. The numerical modeling approach consisted of an aerodynamic setup coupled with Lagrangian particle tracking. Particles were determined to adhere or rebound depending on an adhesion model combined with a resuspension criterion. The adhesion model was based on adhesive-elastic contact theory and the resuspension criterion is derived from the balance between the aerodynamic forces acting on a particle and the critical force for onset of resuspension. The results show that the numerical method can predict certain characteristic snow patterns obtained from the experiments and we also highlight deviations obtained between experimental and simulation results. The simulation results show that the snow accumulation patterns on a bluff body will depend on the smallest ice particles in a snow sample which implies that samples with larger ice particle (for example natural snow) could produce different snow patterns than the fine machine-made snow used in this study.

Snow Contamination



Wind tunnel

multiphase flow

Sensor Soiling


Adhesive particles


Tobias Eidevåg

Volvo Cars

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology

Matthias Eng

Volvo Cars

David Kallin

Volvo Cars

Johan Casselgren

Luleå University of Technology

Yashas Bharadhwaj

Student at Chalmers

Tejas Sharma Bangalore Narahari

Student at Chalmers

Anders Rasmuson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology

SAE Technical Papers

0148-7191 (ISSN)

WCX SAE World Congress Experience
Detroit, USA,

CAE methodology for vehicle snow packing and sensor availability for active safety and autonomous vehicles

VINNOVA (2017-03029), 2018-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics

Chemical Engineering

Vehicle Engineering



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Latest update

7/7/2022 1