Breakthrough Technology For Aero Development

posted by Fabienne Dirksen
September 07, 2021

One of the biggest enemies for any object moving through the air, is aerodynamic drag. In human powered sports where energy is very limited, minimising aerodynamic drag is of utmost importance for saving energy or for going faster. In cycling, it is the biggest resistance from a speed as low as 15km/h. It’s the invisible opponent, constantly slowing you down, with an ever increasing rate of resistance as speed increases. Therefore understanding what causes aerodynamic drag and how to minimise it, is the no.1 consideration for the aerodynamic development of any system.

This is where the new Swiss Side pressure measurement rake is a game changer. Jean-Paul Ballard, Swiss Side CEO says: “Our goal at Swiss Side has been to make aerodynamic drag measurable and understandable for all. We’ve developed this new aero measurement system, which allows you to see aerodynamic drag and most importantly, where it’s coming from and with what intensity. It literally doubles our measurement capability in the wind tunnel.”

The Swiss Side pressure measurement rake measures the energy lost in the airflow behind an object. This is the aerodynamic drag. It does this using an array of 128 kiel probes which are illuminated by 288 individually controlled LEDs, which change colour depending on the measured air pressure. It traverses across the airflow field capturing literally a complete live colour picture of the aerodynamic drag and it’s intensity across the area measured. Because such a device has never existed before, the Swiss Side engineering team developed everything in house, from scratch, in order to customise it to their specific requirements. This included the design and assembly of every component from the physical rake hardware itself, the pressure measurement system electronics and data logger, all the way through to the software systems. It also uses an ‘internet of things’ system approach, where the extensive array of sensors used by the rake system, are connected wirelessly over a local internet network. It is truly state of the art.

The ‘Swiss Side Aerodynamics’ activities now reach well beyond cycling, with activities in all kinds of aerodynamic development projects across a wide range of industries from sports to automotive. The pressure measurement rake provides a hugely valuable development tool for any application. It also provides extremely useful data for correlation back to the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulation models, which further improves and refines the development process.

Enjoy the video about our new Swiss Side pressure measurement rake: