Aerodynamic Drag Race...Watch That "S" Car Go
Derek Lin, Nicholas Lee
Sir Winston Churchill
Floor Location : M 234 N

The rising problem of global warming is a rising issue today. One of the major causes to that are gasoline emission. What most automotive corporations are doing is focusing on integrating electrical technology into our regular gas powered vehicles thus increasing the price. These are known as hybrid vehicles, and example is the Toyota Prius. An alternative method to resolving this problem is to focus on the design and weight of the car to improve its aerodynamics in order to become more fuel efficient. The features that are needed to make a car more aerodynamic include an elongated tail, smooth edges and covered wheels, much like a teardrop. But as we all know the most aerodynamic shape is the teardrop, the issue is that it is not aesthetically pleasing if put on wheels. Additionally, weight can also play into the design. Weight distribution is basic trait to all vehicles. 50-50 percent of weight on the front and back respectively, are ideal, but it is not the case if inclines and declines are factored into this equation. So the purpose of the experiment was to create an aerodynamic car shape through having an elongated tail, smoother edges and covered wheels as well as the ideal amount of weight distribution, while retaining its aesthetics, elegance and functionality. Our hypothesis is that if we did the above acts as stated above, then our vehicle shape would have less drag than its competitors. This being because the wind will smoothly flow over the car's body creating less turbulence, and the weight keeping the vehicle down on inclines, overall helping to smoothly pass through the wind. To summarize the procedure, we tested 7 different diecast cars, as well as our own design and a tear drop as the control, and created molds of each of them using acrylic sheets. They were then placed into a wind tunnel and the drag coefficient value was found. All values were recorded and an average was made. Next we taped weights onto our custom mold and placed it on an incline and decline within the wind tunnel and then found the drag. Overall, of the 7 cars the Ferrari 430 was the most aerodynamic of the cars out there today. However, our design was much more improved with an even lower drag value. oOur hypothesis was accepted in that our design would be more aerodynamic and more fuel efficient. Some sources of errors were taken into consideration and some improvements and extensions can be made. All in all some applications can be applied to the real world using the results all with the general goal of reducing the causes of global warming.