What is a ‘Coanda’ exhaust and why is Lotus excited about it?

There’s certainly been a lot of talk about the final races and the upgrades that teams are bringing for the last push to season’s end. Amongst those upgrades, the exhaust systems are starting to take the spotlight. Exhaust systems have been adjusted, improved and upgraded all season long but an interesting story this week from AUTOSPORT has Lotus F1 bringing an all-new exhaust to take advantage of the Coanda Effect. Ferrari, McLaren and Sauber have been using the system this year and lotus F1, while delayed in deploying their dual DRS (DDRS)  system, have pinned a lot of wind tunnel time and hope on the new exhaust coming in Korea.

The Coanda Effect is an aerodynamic term that is achieved when the exhaust is down-flowing and provides the desired downforce efeect teh chassis needs to stay planted on the track for better performance. For you veterans out there, you’ll be very familiar with the term but for new fans of Formula One and its distinct aerodynamic war, I found a very humble video that does a great job of explaining how the Coanda Effect happens in a very simplistic way. Instead of me just blathering on about it, I thought I would help you find a video and show you what it is. Check it out:

When the publisher of the video using the straw to create a stream of air, you can really start to understand how this effect will help glue the chassis to the tarmac using the exhaust. Last year, Red Bull enjoyed a competitive advantage from the blown diffuser exhaust system and the technical genius, Adrian Newey, has admitted that this year’s ban on the blow diffuser has really stymied their ability to be as competitive as they would like. The Coanda Effect is something Lotus F1 is hoping will bring the types of performance gains they need to finally win a race in 2012. Will they forget their efforts on the DDRS system in favor of Coanda?  Some suggest they will but if their DDRS system is completely passive, then it may comply with the 2013 regulations and thus be worth continued development.

Lotus technical director James Allison said:

“We’ve been ploughing something of a lonely furrow on the circuit with our relatively straightforward, power-maximizing exhaust,” he said.

“However, since well before the launch of the E20 and to the present day we’ve been carrying out parallel developments in our wind tunnel programme based around a Coanda effect exhaust.

“Once we saw the potential gain of the Coanda system surpasses that of our current design it was clear that we needed to implement it, both for the benefit we could get in the last quarter of this season and also for learning experience it presents us for next year.

“We will run our first version of this style of exhaust in Korea.”

We’ll see if it makes a bog gain in performance and I will be intrigued to see how many teams adopt this exhaust should Lotus F1 prove to be substantially quicker this weekend.

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