Lack of downforce at rear of hatchback could lead to oversteer

Hatchbacks are cars without a protruding rear compartment for storage. Analysis of the airflow across the car reveals that a large vortex tends to form at the rear of the car, as the airflow underneath the car attempts to merge with the one riding above it. In addition to creating drag, existence of the vortex creates a region of low pressure that reduced the downforce exerted on the rear wheels, which in high speeds scenarios, could be dangerous to the driver. In general, downforce refers to the air pressure exerted on the car in motion.

 

Specifically, hatchbacks are characterized by being fun to drive, a term used by sports cars fans to refer to the highly responsive steering at the front of the car typical for this type of vehicles. However, relatively higher downforce at the front of the car with respect to the rear meant that hatchbacks are prompt to oversteer during a high speed run of a corner. Hence, care must be taken in turning a corner, especially a high apex one, where high cornering speeds in a hatchback could easily lead to a situation where oversteer and loss of traction at the rear of the car occurs.

 

Thus, one must certainly reduce speed when entering a corner in a hatchback, and should be gentle in turning the steering wheel. Aggressive turning of the steering wheel could result in oversteer and loss of control of the hatchback, even at low speeds.

 

Category: mechanical engineering,
Tags: downforce, oversteer, hatchbacks, vortex, high apex corner, high cornering speed,

 

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