Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Wael Mokhtar

Second Advisor

Dr. Linsay Corneal

Third Advisor

Dr. Sanjivan Manoharan

Academic Year



The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) has been a popular automobile choice in North America for over 50 years due to its seating and hauling versatility and good towing capacity. This widespread popularity has resulted in manufacturers pushing for increased horsepower and cabin size. Unfortunately, the limiting factor has been fuel economy which is governed by the vehicle aerodynamics. A reduction in aerodynamic drag can result in better fuel economy. The goal of this study is to reduce the aerodynamic drag of a generic SUV and the efficient application of drag reduction devices to control flow separation. An initial study has been done on a generic SUV modeled in SolidWorks which is compatible with most of the SUV models used in the past few years. The numerical simulations have been performed in Star CCM+ where polyhedral mesher, prism layer mesher and surface remesher have been used to generate mesh. The RANS (Renolds Average Navier Stokes) equations with standard K- ɛ model has been employed to analyze the turbulence modeling. Based on the results from the baseline simulation, modifications tools have been employed to make the model aerodynamic. In this study, the effects of addition of rear wings, vortex generators and change in shape and size of side mirrors on the external flow pattern and aerodynamic drag of the generic SUV model have been studied. The numerical simulations have been performed by adding the modification tools both individually and combinedly. The result obtained from this study can play significant role for the upcoming models of SUVs.