1995-02-01

Drag Forces Experienced by 2, 3 and 4-Vehicle Platoons at Close Spacings 950632

Drag measurements are made on each of the members of 2, 3 & 4-vehicle platoons. One-eighth scale vehicle models are used in a wind tunnel equipped with a suction surface ground plane for boundary layer control. Strong interaction between vehicles takes place for spacings less than one vehicle length, leading to drag values substantially lower than for an isolated vehicle. All vehicles in the platoon experience lower drag. The average drag coefficient for a 4-vehicle platoon at a nominal spacing of 0.2 vehicle lengths is just 56 percent of the drag of the vehicle in isolation. It is also concluded that little additional benefit is achieved by forming platoons longer than 6-7 vehicles. Finally, the 2-vehicle platoons are operated in different orientations-front-to-front, back-to-back and reversed-to provide an estimate for drag reduction sensitivity to vehicle shape.

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