Automotive Aerodynamics

Automotive aerodynamics studies the aerodynamic optimization of motor vehicles. Besides con- ventional cars, trucks, racing cars, and recently more and more vehicles with alternative types of propulsion, for instance electric vehicles, are the focus of the aerodynamic and thermodynamic investigations

Electric vehicles pose new challenges for automotive aerodynamics in the area of shaping, and the development of new cooling concepts. To investigate the aerodynamic requirements of electric vehicles, the Institute of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics participates in cooperation project MUTE.

Besides the design of a vehicle, aerodynamics also influence the efficiency, the functionality (amongst others the cooling of different components in a vehicle), as well as the driving dynamics and the driving stability of a vehicle decisively. 

Especially transient phenomena like crosswind gusts overtaking maneuvres are of special interest. The aerodynamic optimization process is realized by CFD simulations and experimental investigations in the wind tunnel.

The automotive aerodynamics work group at the Institute mostly uses the open source software OpenFOAMᴿ for numerical investigations. Besides a great number of already implemented functions, OpenFOAMᴿ offers the possibility to adapt the code to address vehicle specific fluid dynamical problems.  

In experimental vehicle aerodynamics it is important to simulate the relative movement between the vehicle and the road to obtain accurate results. Therefore a moving belt system has been installed in the wind tunnel A of the Institute of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics.  

To efficiently carry out the optimization of production vehicles it is essential to understand the underlying aerodynamic phenomena. 

For this purpose strongly simplified models such as the Ahmed body or the SAE body are often used. Whereas these simple car models help to understand the fundamental flow phenomena, their shapes are very different from actual car geometries. Therefore the results will not be fully transferable to the development of production vehicles. This is especially true where complex body surfaces are involved, such as the A-pillars, the highly curved rear end, and the wheelhouse region.

To close the gap between production vehicles and strongly simplified models the automotive aerodynamics group introduces a new generic vehicle model – the DrivAer body.

Contact: PD Dr.-Ing. habil. Thomas Indinger
Room:    1635
Phone:   +


Former Members:

  • Dipl.-Ing. Dirk Bäder
  • Dipl.-Ing. Christopher Collin
  • Dipl.-Ing. Lukas Haag
  • Dipl.-Ing. Angelina Heft
  • Dipl.-Ing. Beat Heinzelmann
  • Dipl.-Ing. Simon Huber
  • Dipl.-Ing. Steffen Mack
  • M. Sc. Patrick Nathen
  • M. Sc. Martin Peichl
  • Dipl.-Ing. Bastian Schnepf
  • Dipl.-Ing. Gregor Tesch
  • Dipl.-Ing. Pascal Theissen
  • Dipl.-Ing. Johannes Wojciak