Automotive aerodynamics sensing using low-profile pressure sensor strip

Zhang, Dayi and Subramanian, Senthilkumar and Hampson, Rory and Jackson, William and Kontis, Konstantinos and Dobie, Gordon and MacLeod, Charles (2023) Automotive aerodynamics sensing using low-profile pressure sensor strip. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, 72. pp. 1-9. 2005809. ISSN 0018-9456 (

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Measuring aerodynamics is crucial in the automotive industry as it helps engineers to optimize designs to improve vehicles' stability and performance. Pressure sensors are widely used to measure aerodynamics. The sensors measure the pressure differences around the vehicle, as well as the pressure distribution around it. These measurements can help to determine the aerodynamic drag and lift forces acting upon the vehicle. However, traditional sensors are relatively large and can be intrusive, making them difficult to integrate into a vehicle's design. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) offers a low-cost option for gathering representative pressure data, the results may be limited by the mathematic model used and other factors which often require a high level of skill to use adequately. This article presents a novel miniature, low-profile aerodynamic sensor strip for use in the automotive sector. The sensor strip is significantly smaller than conventional pressure sensors while maintaining high levels of accuracy and precision. The compact design of the sensor strip allows for easy deployment on existing cars, and its small size minimizes the effect on the aerodynamic drag of the vehicle. The sensor's miniature size and good performance make it a promising solution for automotive applications, such as active aerodynamic control systems. The sensor has been thoroughly tested in a wind tunnel and shown to accurately measure air pressure. Particle image velocimetry (PIV) results showed the sensor's impact on the airflow was below 4%. Empirical pressure measurement on a passenger car demonstrated a successful implementation in the field.