NAQI, a producer of innovative skin care products, is working together with experts in aerodynamics in the development of an Aero Speed Gel that claims to reduce the aerodynamic drag of a cyclist. From F1 laser technology to 3D printing, the company cites a spectrum of state-of-the-art technology used in the development of this product. Final testing was rounded out last month.
Golf ball dimple aerodynamics
“The scientific principal behind this NAQI Aero Speed Gel is similar to the aerodynamics of dimples in a golf ball, which makes the ball fly further than smooth golf balls,” said Nikolaas Van Riet, scientist and co-inventor of the Speed Gel concept. “Roughening the surface of a golf ball, or in this case the body of a cyclist, creates a boundary layer with air that is more turbulent.
“This turbulence will make the air flow stick a little longer to the body and delay the moment of flow separation, which translates into a smaller wake or less drag, and thus a higher cycling speed for the same power in case of the cyclist.”
NAQI’s CEO & President Edgard Geyskens told endurancebusiness.com that “It’s serious. NAQI is a Belgian manufacture of dermopharmaceuticals with 30 years of research experience. The collaboration with Bert Celis, co-inventor of the Speed Gel idea, and his team of aerodynamic experts at the Flanders Bike Valley supported the research & development of the NAQI Aero Speed Gel. The clinical tests were done with time trial riders, triathletes and professional cyclists.”
He continued, “It’s a special lotion with vortex generators plus a cooling effect to economize the energy. At the beginning, in 2016, we had more of a reserved attitude; but it was a great intellectual challenge and the clinical results were fantastic. We did scientific studies in the wind tunnel and the PIV’s (F1-technique). We expect to publish the scientific study at the end of this month. The product is still at the lab-level but we expect to launch it in the near future.”
From 3D printing to F1 laser technology
For the development of the Aero Speed Gel product, NAQI worked closely together with the team of aerodynamics specialists at Flanders’ Bike Valley (Beringen, Belgium) with their state-of-the-art wind tunnel testing facility. A first prototype comprising 3D printed vortex generators was fabricated and tested.
‘The promising results of this first prototype drove further development and optimization to what is now a powerful and user friendly Aero Speed Gel.’
For the visualisation of the flow around the body of a cyclist, an advanced laser measurement technology was used. This technology is also being used in F1 for continuous aerodynamic improvements on race cars. The last fine-tuning on the NAQI Aero Speed Gel is being finalised this month.
A release from NAQI added.. ‘To counter all the sceptics, the results of the rigorous development will be thoroughly discussed in a recently finalized scientific paper. A patent application is launched for this innovative product.’
NAQI adds that its new Aero Speed Gel is also rooted in a natural and sustainability story. The gel is non-irritating, hypo-allergenic and consists of sustainable, bio degradable ingredients. ‘NAQI wants to demonstrate that product innovation and attention for sustainable technological development can go hand-in-hand.’