The Physics of Diffusers: How to Make a Car Really Suck

The Physics of Diffusers: How to Make a Car Really Suck

The same principles that loft a 618-ton Airbus into the sky also keep a Formula 1 race car glued to the track. Downforce is lift inverted, the net result of the pressure differential between the air flowing over and under a front splitter, a front or rear wing, or an entire car body. In a modern Formula 1 car, the diffuser can contribute more than 1000 pounds of downforce. The problem is that this extra stick also raises aerodynamic drag, so engineers have to balance their need for cornering grip and stability against their car’s targeted maximum velocity. What makes a diffuser a preferred aerodynamic device is its efficiency. In terms of beneficial downforce versus parasitic drag, a diffuser is vastly superior to any freestanding wing. READ MORE ››

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