Fieldlab UPPS

Cycling Mannequins for Aerodynamics Testing

12.7.2022
SMS Cycling BV (Team DSM)

Summary

This project aimed to design a process to convert 3D scans of cyclists into durable, practical, life-size cycling mannequins in various positions for aerodynamic testing. A collaboration between Team DSM, Fieldlab UPPS (Industrial Design at TU Delft), and Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft, combined practical sports knowledge with multidisciplinary research to innovate the aerodynamic testing of mannequins in wind tunnels. Through scanning ten cyclists in different biking positions and calculating an average, a generic mannequin for time-trial cycling was created. This, alongside open-source models for 3D printing, sets a new standard for aerodynamic research. A prototype was also developed to explore practical usage techniques, resulting in a segment-based design for ease of handling and transport.

Problem Definition

The primary challenge was the limitations of existing cycling mannequins, such as fixed positioning, reduced practicality over time, and wear, necessitating a more adaptable, long-lasting, and easy-to-use solution for aerodynamic testing.

UPPS Workflow Description

Collect Phase

Collecting

The project involved scanning ten riders in racing and time-trial positions to gather comprehensive 3D data, essential for creating a generic mannequin that serves as a standard in aerodynamic studies.

Equipment

Efforts were made to develop or enhance 3D scanning technologies, focusing on accessibility and efficiency in data collection for aerodynamic analysis.

Analyse Phase

Design Phase

Parametric Modelling

Parametric models, adapted from 3D cyclist data, were crucial in creating generic mannequins for this project. These models created through this process are intended to serve as a "golden standard" for aerodynamic research, applicable in both Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and wind tunnel analyses. This standardization allows for comparative research across different institutions, facilitating a unified approach to studying aerodynamics in cycling. Furthermore, a mannequin prototype was developed to explore practical usage techniques, focusing on ease of handling, the ability to wear various cycling apparel, and secure attachment to bikes. The prototype, designed through sketching and developmental research, consists of multiple segments. This modular design enhances its manageability and transportability, demonstrating the potential of parametric modelling in creating versatile and practical solutions for aerodynamic testing.

Co-creation

A significant focus was placed on co-creation, with a multidisciplinary team working to develop a mannequin that combines practicality with durability, considering user preferences and expert knowledge. The collaboration between Team DSM, Fieldlab UPPS, and TU Delft's Aerospace department exemplified co-creation, blending expertise from sports, industrial design, and aerodynamics to innovate in the creation mannequins for wind tunnel testing.

Produce Phase

Use Phase

Conclusion

The project successfully established a process to convert 3D scans into life-size, versatile cycling mannequins, culminating in a prototype that showcases practical features for aerodynamic testing. The initiative not only advances the efficiency and practicality of using mannequins in wind tunnel tests but also sets a new benchmark for aerodynamic research with the creation of a generic mannequin and open-source 3D models. With the commencement of production and the anticipation of the first CFD and wind tunnel tests in April 2023, the project marks a significant step forward in cycling aerodynamics research.

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