Wind Tunnel Concepts for Testing Heavy Trucks 2016-01-8144
The trucking industry is being encouraged by environmental and cost factors to improve fuel efficiency. One factor that affects fuel efficiency is the aerodynamic design of the vehicles; that is, the vehicles with lower aerodynamic drag will get better mileage, reducing carbon emissions and reducing costs through lower fuel usage. A significant tool towards developing vehicles with lower drag is the wind tunnel. The automobile industry has made great improvements in fuel efficiency by using wind tunnels to determine the best designs to achieve lower drag. Those wind tunnels are not optimum for testing the larger, longer heavy trucks since the wind tunnels are smaller than needed. The estimated costs for a heavy truck wind tunnel based on automotive wind tunnel technology are quite high. A potential nozzle concept to reduce wind tunnel cost and several other new possible approaches to lower wind tunnel costs are presented. These concepts are only ideas, with no available test data at this point, and must be vetted before full scale application.