Drag Reduction, Safety Enhancement, and Performance Improvement for Heavy Vehicles and SUVs Using Advanced Pneumatic Aerodynamic Technology 2003-01-3378
Blown aircraft aerodynamic technology has been developed and applied to entrain separated flow fields, significantly reduce drag, and increase the fuel economy of Heavy Vehicles and SUVs. These aerodynamic improvements also lead to increases in stability, control, braking, and traction, thus enhancing safety of operation. Wind-tunnel results demonstrating model Heavy Vehicle drag coefficient reductions of up to 84% due to blowing and related configuration improvement are reviewed herein. Data confirming the elimination of directional instability due to side-winds plus generation of aerodynamic forces which are not currently used for control of large vehicles are also shown. These data have guided the design and modification of a full-scale road-test vehicle. Initial confirmation road test results of this patented concept on the modified blown HV rig are presented. An SAE Type-II Fuel Economy test was also conducted. Here, various blowing configurations were tested, and results compared to a baseline reference tractor-trailer to confirm the improved fuel economy due to blowing. Full-scale wind-tunnel tests of this pneumatic technology applied to a GM Suburban SUV were also conducted, and the positive effects of blowing on drag reduction, vehicle aerodynamic stability, and operational safety are shown. Comparative results presented include wind-tunnel data for both unblown and blown configurations, full-scale blowing and fuel-economy data, and comparisons to smaller-scale blown Pneumatic Heavy Vehicle experimental results.