So before I was talking about bike racing and whether teams used CFD. So do they? Could they? What exactly could they do with CFD?
Well I’m thinking that if you had a model of bike and rider you could vary the angle of lean on the bike for a start and see the resultant forces to give you an idea of stability. Remember that stability is important for rider confidence. It’s pretty hard to pull this kind of move – part 1, part 2, if you aren’t confident.
Now of course motorcycle dynamics is a complicated thing, you only have to watch a few races with the riders throwing the bikes around corners to see how the things move around underneath them, but if you had the nous I reckon it would be doable to take the resultant forces and feedback to the chassis and suspension setup to see how the geometry would change/deform. So stability probably doable in some form or other but what about the rest of it?
Well there’s the electronics systems used for engine control, traction control, telemetry etc etc, all squished onto these small bikes. Cooling has got to be an issue surely? Well CFD could help with that. Then there’s the engine itself, the exhaust system, engine cooling etc etc all common applications for CFD. So is the bike industry using CFD rather than the racing teams?
Well apparently they are!
Buell has reportedly used CFD to design the fairing and windshield to help optimise the airflow over and around the rider to reduce drag and increase rider comfort.
They also used CFD to design the ram-air system, on cowling design to help improve heat transfer at the radiator and shield the rider from the hot air. It seems Buell have embraced all that CFD can offer.
Now I have no idea what CFD code Buell use but what I do know is that FloEFD is setup to do just the kind of analysis you would need in motorcycle design. The parametric setup of the tool makes doing quick design changes easy with the added bonus that recreating the mesh is just not necessary, so what could be a few weeks worth of work in a traditional CFD code to model the geometry, mesh and solve, becomes a few hours in FloEFD. With the batch run capabilities you could set up a number of different models (varying the bike lean angle perhaps) run it all overnight and come back to the office to review all your results – cool huh?
So if there are any motorcycle racing teams out there who are interested in using CFD to improve their performance let me know. Obviously it will involve me spending an inordinate amount of time in the pits during races – but you knew that right?