High speed driving stability of road vehicles under crosswinds: an aerodynamic and vehicle dynamic parametric sensitivity analysis
Journal article, 2021
Crosswinds affect vehicle driving stability and their influence increase with driving speed. To improve high speed driving stability, interdisciplinary research using unsteady aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics is necessary. The current demands of faster development times require robust virtual methods for assessing stability performance in early design phases. This paper employs a numerical one-way coupling between the two disciplines and uses a variety of realistic crosswind gust profiles for the aerodynamic simulations to output representative forces and moments on three vehicle dynamic models of different fidelity levels, ranging from a one-track model to a full multi-body dynamic model of a sports utility vehicle. An investigation on required model fidelity was conducted along with a sensitivity study to find key aerodynamic and vehicle dynamic characteristics to minimise the yaw velocity and lateral acceleration response during crosswinds. Transient aerodynamic simulations were used to model crosswind gusts at high speeds. Analysis of the forces and moments showed that rapid changing gusts generate overshoots in the yaw moment, due to the phase delay of the flow between the front and rear of the vehicle. A methodology for modelling this phase delay is proposed. The response of the vehicle was captured equally well by the enhanced model (mid-level fidelity) and the full multi-body dynamic model, while the simplest one-track model failed to emulate the correct vehicle response. The sensitivity study showed the importance of the positioning of the centre of gravity, the aerodynamic coefficient of yaw moment, wheel base, vehicle mass and yaw inertia. In addition, the axles' side force steer gradients and other suspension parameters revealed potential in improving crosswind stability.