Aerodynamics of bluff bodies: Surface vehicles, ground-based structures and athletes

Technical service highlights

Air flow affects more than just aircraft. Non-aeronautical, bluff and semi-streamlined bodies such as cars and bridges are equally affected by how air moves around or through them.

NRC has the expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to support our clients' aerodynamics testing requirements in a variety of areas specific to bluff bodies: design, stability, fuel efficiency, performance, drag, wind-induced dynamic loads, vibration and noise.

Our clients include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), after-market part manufacturers, transport operators, government and regulatory authorities, major civil engineering firms, small start-up companies with specific aerodynamic needs, national sports teams, and more.

NRC tailors its testing to improve the product design and performance of:

  • Surface vehicles – trains, buses, passenger cars, motorcycles, race cars, light-duty and transport trucks, and ships
  • Ground-based structures – tall buildings, wind turbines, and long-span bridges
  • Athletes – National team athletes and Olympians as well as sports equipment and clothing

What we offer

NRC is equipped to provide a variety of services related to bluff body aerodynamics.

Why work with us

Your benefits

Our aerodynamic tests allow us to gather quality data to guide your decision-making as you move through the product design, development and refinement stages.

Through carefully chosen experiments and modelling, we can identify ways to help you:

  • enhance stability
  • heighten performance
  • improve fuel efficiency
  • improve safety
  • minimize drag coefficients
  • reduce noise

Our value

In anticipation of future certification requirements, our team of experts can modernize our facilities and services to meet our clients' unique needs. For example, we upgraded our 9 m wind tunnel in response to an increasing need for representative flow simulation for the study of drag-reduction of vehicles. We developed a flow treatment system, which recreates the types of turbulence vehicles encounter on North American highways.

When it comes to fuel economy studies, our aerodynamics experts, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and technicians also work closely with colleagues in the surface transportation field who have complementary and extensive experience overcoming materials and manufacturing challenges. These experts from the NRC's Automotive and Surface Transportation Research Centre apply their expertise and access specialized infrastructure and advanced processes for passenger vehicles, heavy-haul and light rail, heavy-duty trucking fleets, specialized military vehicles, and first-response vehicles.

NRC's experts in Design and Fabrication Services develop prototypes and tailor models and auxiliary systems to support test programs in our wind tunnels. Beyond supporting our internal needs, NRC offers these design and fabrication services to industry clients.

In addition to the technical services we provide, our aerodynamics team also actively contributes to broader NRC initiatives and collaborative projects involving national and international partners. Bluff-body aerodynamic clients may be interested in the following initiatives:

Our aerodynamics team is recognized internationally for its unparalleled research in bluff bodies, including studies to improve the stability of the world's tallest buildings and longest bridges, to enhance vehicle performance, and to contribute to Canada's medal count during the Olympics.


Dean Flanagan, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-990-8319

Date modified: