Aerodynamic Performance of Flat-Panel Boat-Tails and Their Interactive Benefits with Side-Skirts 2016-01-8015
This paper describes an investigation of the performance potential of conventional flat-panel boat-tail concepts applied to tractor-trailer combinations. The study makes use of data from two wind-tunnel investigations, using model scales of 10% and 30%. Variations in boat-tail geometry were evaluated including the influence of length, side-panel angle and shape, top-panel angle and vertical position, and the presence of a lower panel. In addition, the beneficial interaction of the aerodynamic influence of boat-tails and side-skirts that provides a larger drag reduction than the sum of the individual-component drag reductions, identified in recent years through wind-tunnel tests in different facilities, has been further confirmed. This confirmation was accomplished using combinations of various boat-tails and side-skirts, with additional variations in the configuration of the tractor-trailer configuration. Key findings include the reduced performance associated with lowering the position of the top panel to retain visibility of marker lights, and an observed change in boat-tail performance based on the overall vehicle configuration.