Sports Aerodynamics #3 - Aerodynamic backpack ventilation

Aerodynamic backpack ventilation – Vaude has your back Why do we sweat when we exercise? Well, we like to keep our body temperature constant and when doing sports, that temperature increases. To counter that, we sweat. The sweat evaporates into the air around your body and the energy needed to do so is drawn from your body, cooling it down. But what if you’re blocking the air? Then the sweat piles up and you’ll need to sweat even more in other places to get enough cooling. It leaves commuters with a soaked T-shirt on the back and athletes with decreased performance. So Vaude turned up the technology level on their newest backpack to come up with a solution for this. In a first step, they ran several airflow simulations on a digital mountain biker without a backpack, simply to understand how the air moves around the body and find sources of cooling. They saw that the airflow around neck & shoulders re-joins at the higher part of the back, to then channel down at relatively high speed before letting go somewhere lower down the back. At some point, the air going around the torso was also considered to help drive air underneath the backpack. But with the air being too turbulent after going around the torso and the backpack hidden in the wake of the rider’s back, this turned out to be less efficient. So together, we figured it would be quite nice to use the central airstream at neck & shoulders to help cool down the rider’s back in the locations where it matters most: the central part of the lower back. Multiple concepts were thought of, all with the aim to capture this airstream and channel it between the rider’s back, and the backpack itself. Aerodynamically optimized channels were carved out of the padding between rider and backpack and after numerous checks via simulation, we ended up with a design that outperforms anything that is currently out there in the market. And that’s not just us talking: Vaude performed multiple wind tunnel tests, with riders going at it in well-controlled conditions, like the temperature, seating position, produced power and so on. They even went to the Sports Tech Research Centre, who operate a specialized wind tunnel, to put their new backpack design to the test. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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! Looking for a way to test your Aerodynamics projects without all the hassle and the huge costs coming with it? Check out https://www.AirShaper.com and see how easy it can be!

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Code contributions by

  • KU Leuven
  • Inholland
  • Linkoping University