Impact to Cooling Airflow from Truck Platooning 2020-01-1298
We investigate tradeoffs between the airflow strategies related to engine cooling and the aerodynamic-enabled fuel savings created by platooning. By analyzing cooling air flow, operating temperatures and platoon aerodynamics, we recommend configurations (including gaps distances and offsets) that will balance these tradeoffs. Previously, we have collected wind and thermal data for numerous heavy duty truck platoon configurations (gaps ranging from 4 to 87 meters) and reported the significant fuel savings enabled by these configurations. The fuel consumption for all trucks in the platoon were measured using the SAE J1321 gravimetric procedure as well as calibrated J1939 instantaneous fuel rate while travelling at 65 mph and loaded to a gross weight of 65,000 lb. Using COBRA probes and thermocouples mounted 1 m ahead of each truck, anemometers at the grill and a grid of underhood thermocouples as well as J1939 reported engine temperatures, we analyze the impact to critical operating temperatures from different platoon configurations. We created a CFD model to expand understanding of the cooling impacts measured on the test track. Results show significant changes in the engine and under hood air temperatures correlate with vehicle gap distance and platoon position.