Surface Flow Visualization on a Full-Scale Passenger Car with Quantitative Tuft Image Processing
Abstract Flow visualization techniques are widely used in aerodynamics to investigate the surface trace pattern. In this experimental investigation, the surface flow pattern over the rear end of a full-scale passenger car is studied using tufts. The movement of the tufts is recorded with a DSLR still camera, which continuously takes pictures. A novel and efficient tuft image processing algorithm has been developed to extract the tuft orientations in each image. This allows the extraction of the mean tuft angle and other such statistics. From the extracted tuft angles, streamline plots are created to identify points of interest, such as saddle points as well as separation and reattachment lines. Furthermore, the information about the tuft orientation in each time step allows studying steady and unsteady flow phenomena. Hence, the tuft image processing algorithm provides more detailed information about the surface flow than the traditional tuft method.