Sports Aerodynamics #1: Winning the Ironman Triathlon

Sports Aerodynamics #1: Winning the Ironman Triathlon

For more information, visit ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In this first video on aerodynamics in sports, we’ll have a closer look at how my mentor Ismaël Ben-Al-Lal is preparing for the Ironman in Hawaii in 2019, after winning the one in Taiwan in his age group in 2018. Our partners for this video:ël-ben-al-lal-0a55b021 Wind simulation by: 3D scan with: First a short recap on the Ironman: you start off with a 3.86km swim, then you jump onto your bike for a 180.2km and you finish with a 42.195km marathon. Fair to say that every bit of reduction in resistance is appreciated during such a race. It’s particularly important for the cycling bit: aerodynamics make up for over 80% of the total power you’re pushing through the pedals at 10 meters per second. So Ismaël got into the science behind it to go even faster. To do so, he got himself 3D scanned to obtain a 3D model for aerodynamic simulations. Here’s a short interview we did with him: --- Interview Ismaël --- To make the scan of Ismaël, we cooperated with engineering agency Voxdale and the product development department of the University of Antwerp. They used an Artec Eva 3D scanner that uses structured light to transfer Ismaël into the digital world. The total scan took less than 5 minutes to complete and with some post-processing, his body was isolated from the bike to focus on his body rather than his bike. Not that the bike and the body don’t interact aerodynamically, but sometimes it’s interesting to see what is possible without the bike. So we pushed the 3D scanned model straight onto our platform for a Detailed Simulation and without revealing too much of Ismaël’s competitive advantages, we do want to provide two quick insights to get you started: - First of all, the helmet. In the top view, we can see that Ismaël’s helmet is not oriented perfectly straight. This can cause unwanted drag, so be sure to turn your head straight into the wind. When there is a side wind, this may mean you’ll have to slightly rotate your head into the wind. - Second of all, the upper arms: trying to keep your shoulders tucked inside could help reduce the wake just behind the top part of your upper arms. That was it for this first introduction to aerodynamics in sports. If you liked it, please click the like button and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay tuned for more. And if you have any tips on other topics, just let us know in the comments! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wouter Remmerie Wouter is the Founder of AirShaper, an online, virtual wind tunnel. With this tool and these videos, we want to make aerodynamics accessible to everyone! Interested in more content like this on the field of aerodynamics? Make sure to click that subscribe button, we post new videos every week! For more information, visit: #AirShaper #SportsAerodynamics #IronmanTriathlon

Awards and Support

  • Solar Impulse
  • iMec
  • Voxdale
  • Professional MotorSport World Awards – MotorSport Technology of the Year

Code contributions by

  • KU Leuven
  • Inholland
  • Linkoping University