AIRBUS talks part 4 of 4 - America's Cup Aerodynamics - PART 2

In this 4th & final video in the series AIRBUS talks, we continue our discussion on the aerodynamics of the America's Cup and we get insights into their involvement for the 36th edition, where they will support team American Magic. Simulations instead of physical testing Due to technical restrictions, it is forbidden to perform wind tunnel or water channel tests. So aerodynamic analysis & optimization is performed through simulations. This can be very costly when the geometry is complex or difficult to mesh, and very powerful high performance computers are required to perform the simulations. And then, many different set points need to be analyzed. Velocity Performance Prediction The output of such simulations was used in the Velocity Performance Prediction program: there they can simulate the performance of the boat using the aerodynamic coefficients. That is why they need as many details on the performance of the boat as possible. This approach is very comparable to laptime simulation programs used in Formula One and other racing series. Interaction between the sails and the boat One of the problems they found was the detached flow in the interaction between the main sail and the platform of the boat. This detached flow needed to be reduced. The platform acts like a wing tip for the bottom of the main sail, which in theory reduces the wing tip vortex. However, due to the complex flow over the platform and the sail, the wing tip is not so strong and detached flow at the root is a larger problem. American Magic Team New Zealand won the previous edition of the America's Cup (35th edition) and it's the winning team that get's to choose the design of the boat for the next edition. They decided to continue with the foils, but changed from a catamaran to monocoque layout of the boat. This is fascinating because this boat design could make the boats pass the magical 50 knots speed barrier. At those speeds, cavitation effects on the foils under water start playing a role. Strict protocol Teams are not allowed to inject a gas lighter than air inside the boat to lift the boat from the water. All the crew should also be human (no robots yet!)

Supported by

  • Solar Impulse
  • iMec
  • Voxdale

Code contributions by

  • KU Leuven
  • Inholland
  • Linkoping University