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Aerodynamic Gel applied to the body?

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Aerodynamic Gel applied to the body?

Old 06-06-22, 01:00 PM
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helmet4000
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Aerodynamic Gel applied to the body?

Saw it in lengthy scientific paper on cycling aerodynamics.


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Old 06-06-22, 01:20 PM
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Interesting, if only in an academic way. I'd never realize an advantage from something like this.

I'm curious how it really helps, even for someone who's already maximized his aero efficiency wherever possible... I guess I don't understand enough about aerodynamics.

The little humps on high-end carbon wheels are claimed to reshape the airflow just past the trailing edge of the rim to prevent a stall, which robs power on less advanced shapes.

But vortex generators? These disturb the smooth, laminar flow right next to the surface they're mounted on. You see them on race cars just forward of the spoiler, used to increase spoiler's downforce. They are also sometimes placed on an airplane's wing just forward of control surfaces, ailerons especially, to increase the control surface's authority. In each of these cases, they actually make the entire surface *less aerodynamically slick overall, but the tradeoff is considered worthwhile. (* Technically, what they do is add parasitic drag, a bad thing for airplanes, but again, worth the compromise sometimes.)

How could vortex generators on your body save power? I thought we usually try for maximum laminar flow and minimal turbulence.

Last edited by Broctoon; 06-06-22 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 06-06-22, 01:35 PM
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What is next...?

Trip socks?

Textured fabric?
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Old 06-06-22, 03:03 PM
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13.9 meters/second is 31.09 miles per hour. I don't normally cruise that fast. I'd imagine any benefit will be much less for me.
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Old 06-06-22, 03:50 PM
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"An aerodynamic gel ... that consists of vortex generators in the form of coarse grains embedded in an oil gel." This is old news.

You guys don't borrow your wives' or girlfriends' exfoliating face scrub and apply some on your arms and legs before you ride?

I do. Makes me faster and improves my skin tone. But some of you guys ride a lot more than me, so don't overuse exfoliating face scrub.
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Old 06-06-22, 04:29 PM
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Aerogel is the insulation NASA uses in space suits. It's a highly aerated gel, the dead air basically prevents the movement of heat.

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Old 06-06-22, 08:09 PM
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Just leave some hair next time you shave your legs. It does the same effect at $0 compared to a $10,000 aero gel.
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Old 06-06-22, 08:40 PM
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i guess this shows the extent to which scientists and riders might go looking for new advantages in the attainment of higher speeds -- too weird not to post
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Old 06-07-22, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
i guess this shows the extent to which scientists and riders might go looking for new advantages in the attainment of higher speeds -- too weird not to post
Just to win that obscure Strava segment in their neighborhood.

Make sure the UCI bans it for "causing a clear advantage." That will ensure it becomes standard equipment for the weekend warriors and triathlon.

Last edited by seypat; 06-07-22 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 06-07-22, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
How could vortex generators on your body save power? I thought we usually try for maximum laminar flow and minimal turbulence.
When dealing with abrupt curves (against the airflow) such as our legs, laminar flow is a bad thing. Laminar flow doesn't "cling" well around abrupt curves and separate much earlier than turbulent flow. Early flow separation results to bigger and more energetic turbulent wake. More energy lost.

Vortex generators break the laminar flow into thin layer of turbulent flow that clings better around abrupt curves and results to a smaller, less energetic turbulent wake - less energy lost from drag. While vortex generators and the turbulent airflow also creates drag and losses, the drag would have been higher if you allowed the the flow to separate early.

The dimples in a golf ball is a form of vortex generator to break the laminar flow around the ball and reduce drag. Most airplanes don't need vortex generators because their wing and body shapes present low amount of curvature against the flow and also because the much larger distance the air has to flow around the airplane body and the much higher speeds involved will easily break the laminar flow into a turbulent layer. Some planes use vortex generators but not to reduce drag but to reduce take off and landing speeds. Vortex generators actually increase drag on a plane but does the opposite on our bikes! This is why on airplanes, maximizing areas of laminar flow is better. Still on some planes like gliders because of the narrow wings and low speeds, can present a more abrupt curve against the airflow, use a more discreet version of vortex generator (that looks like a regular electrician's tape but in a zig zag shape) to help air flow around the wings better. Welcome to the complicated world of aerodynamics!

You can put zig zag tape around your bike to try to reduce some drag...But you'll probably need access to wind tunnel with instrumentation to find where to put them that gives best results.
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Old 06-07-22, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
Just leave some hair next time you shave your legs. It does the same effect at $0 compared to a $10,000 aero gel.
Nah, full-length hair doesn't work. It's gotta be stubble to generate the right airflow patterns.
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Old 06-07-22, 06:56 AM
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Once a guy left a "trip strip" of unshaved but short hair on the length of the legs. A pretty "in the know" competitive British time trial racer. The aero socks/covers sold routinely place the two seams at either side of the front of the calf for this same purpose.

The flap at the recent Olympics was the kinesthetics tape that was supposed to be "medical in nature" on certain track athlete's legs. Right........
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Old 06-07-22, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Nah, full-length hair doesn't work. It's gotta be stubble to generate the right airflow patterns.
I actually use barber's clippers with a short guide on. It trims my leg hairs precisely to 5mm length. It's actually nice. There's enough hair left to make it look natural and not look like you shaved.
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Old 06-08-22, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
Just leave some hair next time you shave your legs. It does the same effect at $0 compared to a $10,000 aero gel.
You could even try leaving it in patterns like the aero socks, if there's enough of it.
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Old 06-08-22, 01:24 PM
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I was privy to an aero spray solution that was meant to reduce drag when sprayed on frames, wheels, helmets, etc. Also on the skin.

Testing was so-so and the possible negative effects on the skin made it a dead end.

That was being done at "our" level. Testing in a wind tunnel way back over a decade ago. Some products that many use today came about indirectly because of that testing.

FWIW - that secret sauce did really well in cyclocross at acting semi-hydrophobic and keeping the bikes and gear cleaner when being used in bad conditions.

So now maybe some of you understand why the UCI gets all up in arms about sock height. There's a collection of extremely talented people who are constantly looking at new ways to cheat...err... "marginal gains" that no one else has. This is not unlike any racing sport.

I remember one year after racing the Purdue Grand Prix (Go-Kart Race) we had Dick Simon (Indy car guy forever) give our talk at the final dinner. He talked about the core truth to racing: "You have to find the rule that isn't written yet and exploit it so much that you give them a reason to write the rule".
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Old 06-08-22, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
FWIW - that secret sauce did really well in cyclocross at acting semi-hydrophobic and keeping the bikes and gear cleaner when being used in bad conditions.
Maybe not the aero benefit planned, but minimizing drivetrain losses due to muck sounds like a heckuva benefit to me. At the time, cyclocross may have been a smaller market and not worth the time, but if they could now also market it to gravel riders...
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Old 06-08-22, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by helmet4000 View Post
i guess this shows the extent to which scientists and riders might go looking for new advantages in the attainment of higher speeds -- too weird not to post
and people say e bikes are cheating
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Old 06-08-22, 02:32 PM
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And all this time I thought they were referring to Nair when they talked about aero gel... Man, was I outta the loop.
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Old 06-08-22, 03:31 PM
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Tip: What if we also apply the gel on the bike? Especially on wheels - we'll start to fly, although UCI might not like it...
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Old 06-08-22, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Nah, full-length hair doesn't work. It's gotta be stubble to generate the right airflow patterns.
Only if you have thick leg hair like a carpet. My leg hair is sparse enough as is to function as vortex generators. Especially if I add a little exfoliating face scrub (as discussed above).
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Old 06-08-22, 07:15 PM
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I think astroglide would work better.
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