Often people who love automobiles are seen talking about horsepower, torque, power, fuel efficiency, aerodynamics and many more automotive related terms. Now these terms apparently sound cool and funky but a whole bunch of science goes behind each one of them. One of the most crucial out of these comes out to be aerodynamics. In the modern world of vehicle development, fuel efficiency, power and NVH play a very major role and aerodynamics contributes to each one of these factors in a big way. To experience how cars are tested in real time for aerodynamics Mercedes Benz had allowed a team of people from WIRED to visit their top secret R&D center, MIRA in England.
The car to be featured is a Mercedes Benz B Class. MIRA has a full sized wind tunnel that can generate winds of 80 MPH. At the flick of a switch, strong winds stream over a car, allowing engineers to determine how efficient it is aerodynamically. Of course, you can’t see wind flowing over the car for which boffins waft smoke or spray fluorescent paint onto the car to judge where the wind is buffeting the body and the pattern of air flow all around the vehicle. The fluorescent paint is visible in UV light for which a collection of UV lights are placed inside the wind tunnel and they operate at 750 degrees!
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And that is not all. The paint being sprayed over the vehicle is highly inflammable thus making it a potentially hazardous environment. To prevent any sort of injury, the persons inside are covered from head to toe in special clothing. It is impressive and bizarre, part art, part science. If nothing else, it turns dull facts, figures, equations and lab-speak into a living, breathing reality. Such is the art and science of aerodynamics.
Source – Wired