The purpose of this thesis work was to design a new shape for the BYU Supermileage vehicle in order to improve its fuel efficiency. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was used to obtain the coefficient of drag (CD) and drag area of the current baseline vehicle at a Reynolds number of 1.6x10^6 and 8.7x10^5. Then a new shape was developed using mesh morphing software. The new shape was imported into the CFD program and the drag figures and airflow plots from the modified design were compared with the baseline vehicle. Scale models of the vehicles were also printed using a 3D printer in order to perform wind tunnel testing. The models were installed in the wind tunnel and the coefficient of drag and drag area were compared at a Reynolds number around 8.7x10^5.It was found from the CFD results that the new vehicle shape (labelled Model C) caused a 10.8% reduction in CD and a 17.4% reduction in drag area under fully laminar flow. Smaller drag reductions were observed when the flow was fully turbulent. From the wind tunnel comparisons, it was found that Model C reduced CD by 5.3% and drag area by 11.4%, while the fully laminar CFD results at Re = 8.7x10^5 showed that Model C reduced CD by 9.8% and drag area by 15.9%. Smaller drag reductions were again observed for fully turbulent flow. Thus in order to improve the aerodynamic performance, the current vehicle shape should be changed to match that of Model C, and laminar flow should be encouraged over as much of the wetted area as possible.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





supermileage vehicle, CFD simulations, aerodynamics, drag reduction, wind tunnel