Computational investigation of a race car wing with vortex generators in ground effect

Yuichi Kuya, Kenji Takeda, Xin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Vortex generators can be applied to control separation in flows with adverse pressure gradients, such as wings. In this paper, a study using three-dimensional steady computations for an inverted wing with vortex generators in ground effect is described. The main aim is to provide understanding of the flow physics of the vortex generators, and how they affect the overall aerodynamic performance of the wing to complement previous experimental studies of the same configuration. Rectangular vane type sub-boundary layer and large-scale vortex generators are attached to the suction surface of the wing, including both counter-rotating and co-rotating configurations. In order to provide confidence, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes simulations using the Spalart-Allmaras turbulence model are validated against the experimental results regarding force, pressure, and wake characteristics, with the validation exhibiting close agreement with the experimental results. The streamwise friction shows the downwash induced by the generated vortex acts to suppress flow separation. The flow field survey downstream of the vortex generators features breakdown and dominance of the generated vortex in the flow. The vortex generated by the counter-rotating sub-boundary layer vortex generator grows in size and breaks down as it develops downstream, while the vortex generated by the counter-rotating large-scale vortex generator shows high vorticity even further downstream, indicating the persistence of the vortex in the flow. The flow field behind the co-rotating sub-boundary layer vortex generator is dominated by a lateral flow, having the spanwise flow component rather than a swirling flow, and the vortex quickly dissipating as it develops downstream. The results from this paper complement previous experimental measurements by highlighting the flow physics of how vortex generators can help control flow separation for an inverted wing in ground effect, and how critical vortex generator type and size are for its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211021-211028
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb


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