How Drag Reduction System Works In A Car?
When there is resistance to the flowing liquid leading to contact with the wall, there will be a drag or drop in frictional pressure.
The Drag Reduction System (DRS) was then made so that drivers could make more overtaking maneuvers. It compensates the fact that drivers need to make use of slipstream.
However, there are several questions that are still very much vague about DRS. To answer those questions, here are some basic information about the system.
Understanding DRS will help the driver device plan to use its full potential during a Formula One race.
How Does Drag Reduction System (DRS) Affect Fluid Flow?
In order to understand how DRS works, we must first know how it affects liquid flow and how it reduces liquid flow by following the structure of the flow in the pipeline.
DRS works with the flowing liquid in the automobile.
There are usually two kinds of flow, namely the turbulent and laminar. The pressure in the laminar flow can’t be changed if the physical property of the fluid itself is changed.
Since DRA does not change the properties of the fluid, it works better with turbulent flow. It also performs well with pipelines since that’s the medium through which liquid flows in the turbulent regime.
During the turbulent regime, the liquid molecules get to move in a random way, which results to a waste of the energy applied to them and you’ll end up getting indiscriminate motion and eddy current. It flows through a pipeline.
In the pipeline’s core, most of fluid forms eddy currents and moves in random motion.
Near to the pipeline’s wall is the laminar sub layer where the fluid will move laterally in the sheets. Between the two of these is the buffer zone. The DRS interacts with the polymer molecules and the turbulence of the flowing liquid.
How Does Drag Reduction System (DRS) Work?
Drag Reduction System (DRS) occurs because there is suppression of energy dissipation caused by the eddy current produced near the pipe wall when there is turbulent flow.
Turbulence is first formed in the buffer zone. Portions of the laminar sub layer, called streak, sometimes cross the buffer region.
When the streak is there, it will begin to oscillate and vortex. Then, it moves faster and faster as it gets nearer and nearer the turbulent core.
This injection of fluid into the core is what we call a turbulent burst. This bursting motion and the continuous growth of bursts will result to the waste of energy.
It is said that drag reducing polymers can interfere with the turbulent burst so that it’ll reduce the turbulence happening in the pipeline’s core.
Instead, the polymers will absorb the energy from the streak, a little like shock absorbers.
Therefore, drag-reducing polymers are more active in the buffer zone.
How Is DRS Used In Formula One?
In Formula One, the DRS is used to open the adjustable flap usually located on the car’s rear wing.
This way, the car’s drag is reduced and it gives the car better speed and a greater chance to overtake the car before it.
In the estimate of Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA), DRS can increase speed up to 12 kilometer per hour. And when the driver closes the flap, he’ll create more downforce which gives the car better cornering.
The DRS can only be used once after two racing laps are completed and whenever the pursuing car will enter the designated activation zone, labeled by the FIA.
However, just in recent years, FIA increased the number of DRS zones.
Now, a driver can activate it twice on some of the chosen circuits that feature several long straights.
What Are The Rules In Using DRS?
There are strict rules that must be followed when a driver uses DRS on Formula One. This includes the following:
- Use DRS when the following car is about a second behind the leading car.
- Use DRS when the following car is in the overtaking zone, defined by Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA).
- The system should not be used during the first two laps of the race.
- The system should not be used until two laps have already passed and after the car makes its safety appearance or restart.
- The system should not be used by the defending driver unless he is within one second away from the car in front of him.
- The system should not be used if the race director says that racing conditions are too dangerous for it, for example, when it’s raining.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Drag Reduction System (DRS)?
One disadvantage of using a DRS is that at the qualifying session, the use of it is currently not allowed.
In fact, DRS mechanics are blocked by what they call a spacer ring. However, you can use it when you are still in your practicing sessions.
In the 2015 Formula One race, DRS is only used in the designated overtaking zones and none other than that.
If you’re using a DRS during your practice session, then you can say that its use is reasonably unlimited except letting the driver from always remember that he needs to readjust the flat wing before he enters the next turn or else, he’ll lose control of the car.
Usually, there are 3 sensors monitor in the cockpit that makes sure that the wing will automatically return to its steep-angle position.
This will happen when there is a high brake pressure or when the driver will lift the throttle pedal. Moreover, if there is a centrifugal force sensor, it will help you detect the level of lateral force your car needs.
In any case, the DRS lets the wing return to the initial steeper position. Because of this, the impact of DRS on the straights is really poor.
While it’s true that DRS is good with the car’s rear wing, the carbon fiber part will only stand in the headwind due to air resistance. Therefore, accelerating the car is more difficult.
How Did Drivers And Race Enthusiasts React With DRS?
When the DRS was introduced, there was a mixed reaction to it.
Some of them believe that DRS is the answer to the problem of having too little overtaking scenes in Formula One.
However, others believe that it’s making the race too easy and is unfair to the drivers with real overtaking skills. Moreover, it is said the driver in front is not given the chance to defend his position from the driver behind him because it is not allowed in the DRS rules.
This issue has been accordingly addressed to the Formula One officials and the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) but there is still no public comment made about it.
However, whether DRS has improved racing or not and whether it’ll be completely banned in the future or not is something only time can tell.
Right now, one thing is for sure. It’s here and it’s approved by FIA and F1 officials. It’s better to make good use of it then.