Flow viz: Its nothing new

When McLaren ran Flow Viz paint on their car in testing last year, the world took notice.  Teams have been in fact running this solution for years and years, before that wool tufts have been used to show surface aerodynamic flows. 
Flow Viz is a fluorescent powder suspended in a light oil (often paraffin).  This is liberally applied by a spray gun to bodywork up stream of the area you want to investigate.  As the car laps, the airflow spreads the non drying liquid back along the car, following the same path over the surface as the airflow.  By then analysing the patterns the flow Viz leaves, you can see the behaviour of the airflow over the car.  Details like direction and attached\non-attached flow can be observed.  But this is only surface airflow and this is not the entire story when it comes to aerodynamics, so Flow Viz is only one solution for measuring aero on track.
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2 thoughts on “Flow viz: Its nothing new

    • From my observation of the cars the days after having done a flow viz test, is that it gets everywhere. It might clean off shiney bodywork with little effort, but there’s traces of it left in every little nook and cranny.
      It is cheap, if you dont go for fluorescent as, any dye would do. I’ve heard of fairy liquid based mixes being used too, which must be easier to clean off!

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