From the many conversations we've had with our customers, the media, & riders, over the past year or so, we've been pleasantly surprised at the extent of the interest shown in the introduction of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to our engineering processes. So, we thought we'd do something about it. We created this explainer video to help riders develop their own understanding of the value of CFD as a research tool.
Run completely in-house with no big CFD software partners or consultants, we have built up our experience and simulation models from scratch over the past 9 months, and are still in a process of refinement that will see this process improve in its usefulness and validity ongoing.
Using OpenFOAM, an extremely powerful open-source CFD package, we are currently running steady state simulations with turbulence modelling (k-omega) on a 12-million cell size mesh to analyse our rim profiles. For context, each cell on the surface of the wheel is approximately 0.000125m (0.125mm) in height and width. With the current computing power we have (although this is ever-increasing), each simulation runs for approximately 5-6 hours for yaw angles between -20 and +20 degrees. So, assuming your computing power remains constant, adding more and more cells comes with the downside of exponentially longer processing times - meaning less tests per given time period.
To validate our CFD results, we are using our single wheel wind tunnel test results and industry available literature. In other words, we know we've validated our CFD platform effectively, when it can replicate existing datasets we've collected from past wind tunnel tests.