Investigation of Drag Reduction Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles Using Surface, Wake and Underbody Pressure Measurements to Complement Aerodynamic Drag Measurements
A multi-year, multi-vehicle study was conducted to quantify the aerodynamic drag changes associated with drag reduction technologies for light-duty vehicles. Various technologies were evaluated through full-scale testing in a large low-blockage closed-circuit wind tunnel equipped with a rolling road, wheel rollers, boundary-layer suction and a system to generate road-representative turbulent winds. The technologies investigated include active grille shutters, production and custom underbody treatments, air dams, wheel curtains, ride height control, side mirror removal and combinations of these. This paper focuses on mean surface-, wake-, and underbody-pressure measurements and their relation to aerodynamic drag. Surface pressures were measured at strategic locations on four sedans and two crossover SUVs.