Saturday, November 06, 2010

The last great airbender

Adrian Newey, they say, can see the air.

He can see it tying itself in knots at the stagnation points in front of the rotating wheels; he can see the separation points on top of the wheels, and the dense thickets of turbulence behind; he can see the delicate boundary layers clinging to the underside of the wing-sections, ready to detach at the slightest provocation; he can see the rising turbulent wakes above and behind the front and rear wings, the streamlines spiralling around longitudinal axes, larger vortices driving smaller vortices until the energy is dissipated as heat.

In transient pitch and yaw, he can see the streamlines shifting, the boundary layers detaching, the wings stalling; then as dynamic equilibrium returns, he can see the separation points migrating aft until they reach the trailing edges, and downforce is restored. He can see the filigree vortices spinning off the corners of the wings and bargeboards, accelerating the airflow under the leading edge of the floor; he can see the diffuser as an aerodynamic lung, inhaling air beneath the car and creating low pressure like a venturi duct; he can see the exhaust flows keeping the boundary layer of the diffuser attached, and the low pressure areas behind the rear wheels amplifying the capacity of the diffuser.

For Adrian Newey is the last great airbender.

1 comment:

Ago said...

Woaw ! An intense pleasure to read such a nice work of art... and it tells a true story. Thanks for the poetry sir.