Vehicle Aerodynamics

  Vehicle aerodynamics is the study of how air moves around your vehicle which can be a powerful force and how this force can be reduced or directed to increase performance. Aerodynamics was first studied and applied to the aviation industry but it has since trickled across to the automotive industry.
  Our atmosphere is filled with air and air pressure especially close to sea level where most of us live and drive. Your vehicle or any object that moves must displace the air around it in the direction that it is travelling in.
  This is almost a non-issue at low speeds as the air can easily move around any vehicle that travels at a slow enough pace but as the speed continues to increase the air cannot be displaced fast enough so it creates a resistance to the vehicle. This resistance is called drag or aerodynamic drag.
  The faster a vehicle moves the thicker the air around it becomes so more than five times the horsepower is required for a vehicle to travel at 200mph than what it would need to travel at 100mph. Aerodynamic features may have little or no effect at speeds of around and under 10mph as air can easily move around the vehicle at that speed.
  Many high end vehicles have a number of aerodynamic features fitted seamlessly into their exterior styling and design. Sometimes you don't notice them but the simple things as the lines along the side, the round-ish shape of the front and sometimes rear of the vehicle, the ground clearance and so on. Implementing vehicle aerodynamics can benefit you and your vehicle in a number of ways.
  • Acceleration and top speed can be increased resulting in better performance as more air can travel around the vehicle and reducing the effects of drag. Your vehicle will need less horsepower and torque to move at the same speed compared to a vehicle with less aerodynamic features.
  • Your pocket will benefit due to the lack of drag. Wind doesn't give much resistance at low speeds but as you increase your speed you will need a smaller quantity of fuel to drive compared to if your vehicle did not have the aerodynamic features.
  • Vehicle aerodynamics further increases the performance of your vehicle as some aerodynamic features are used to create a downforce at high speeds which can reduce your chances of overturning.
  Vehicle aerodynamics will be compromised as the design of a production road vehicle must adhere with imperatives of automobile production and interior space should remain practicipable. The exterior design of the vehicle should also be attractive but this is not that big of an issue as many aerodynamic features, curves and lines can add appeal to a vehicle.
  The ultimate performance vehicles such as the supercars and the formula one cars will have more obvious features like the specially angled or retracatble spoilers, small wings and more in addition to the more discreet aerodynamic features I mentioned earlier.
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