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Technical Paper

Correlation Experience with the SAE Wind Tunnel Test Procedure for Trucks and Buses

Six-component aerodynamic force and moment data are compared from tests of four 1/10-scale truck models at four wind tunnels on the North American Continent. Each model was tested in both a standard and a fuel saver configuration. The differences observed between tunnels were consistent for each aerodynamic component regardless of truck or configuration. The zero-yaw drag coefficients from each of the four tunnels were within ± 4 percent of the mean coefficients. The coefficient magnitudes for the other aerodynamic components showed variations that were often many times larger than those for drag. The variations between the incremental coefficients for all six aerodynamic components were less than those found for the coefficient magnitudes. A qualified comparison was made between the average drag coefficient magnitudes from the wind tunnels and those available from some on-road coastdown tests of the full-scale vehicles.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Front-Edge Rounding and Rear-Edge Shaping on the Aerodynamic Drag of Bluff Vehicles in Ground Proximity

Wind tunnel measurements on a rectangular vehicle-like shape and on two detailed, scale-model trucks have been employed to define the front and rear edge geometries that minimize aerodynamic drag. Optimum configurations are identified with sufficient detail for commercial vehicle design purposes. Comparisons of the model-scale measurements with limited measurements on a full-scale straight truck in a large wind tunnel support the interpretation of these test results.
Technical Paper

Model and Full-Scale Wind Tunnel Tests of Second-Generation Aerodynamic Fuel Saving Devices for Tractor-Trailers

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is commencing a new round of aerodynamic development of heavy trucks in partnership with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE). The program is meant to take second-generation, add-on technology from the wind tunnel to the fleet. The purpose is to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The benefit is that the fuel reductions pay the operators to improve their vehicle emissions. 1:10-scale model tests in the NRC 2m × 3m wind tunnel, followed by full-scale tests on a Navistar 9200 Day Cab with 40-foot trailer in the NRC 9m × 9m wind tunnel, were employed to develop the add-on devices of interest. The results demonstrated significant fuel savings from a combination of longer cab extenders, trailer skirts and trailer boat-tails that reduced fuel consumption as much as the contemporary aerodynamic cab packages.
Technical Paper

Full-Scale Wind Tunnel Tests of Production and Prototype, Second-Generation Aerodynamic Drag-Reducing Devices for Tractor-Trailers

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has completed the second round of full-scale wind tunnel tests on Class-8 tractor-trailer combinations. The primary intent of the program is to effect a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by reducing the fuel consumption of trucks through aerodynamic drag reduction. Add-on aerodynamic components developed at the NRC several decades ago have become important contenders for drag reduction. This program has encouraged the commercialization of these technologies and this round of tests evaluated the first commercial products. Three primary devices have been evaluated, with the combination able to reduce fuel consumption by approximately 6,667 liters (1,761 US gal) annually, based on 130,000 km (81,000 miles) traveled per tractor at a speed of 100 km/hr (62 mi/hr).
Technical Paper

Truck Aerodynamics Reborn - Lessons from the Past

During the late 1970's and early 1980's considerable effort was expended in the improvement of truck aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption. This first-generation effort focused on aerodynamic drag reduction obtained from add-on aerodynamic aids to the cab or the trailer, from improved cab shaping and from body/trailer front-end edge rounding. Rising fuel prices have renewed interest in further aerodynamic improvements. This paper will review past developments and show that several unused concepts offer potential as second-generation, add-on, fuel-saving technology. It will raise the issue of finding successful means for bringing them profitably into service, which will require concerted action by the trucking industry, manufacturers and government.
Technical Paper

Pickup Truck Aerodynamics - Keep Your Tailgate Up

The aerodynamic effects of the pickup truck tailgate are examined in this paper. It is shown that the removal or the lowering of the tailgate increases the aerodynamic drag of a pickup truck, increases lift by up to sixty percent and increases the yawing moment. All these changes are negative and reduce vehicle performance, albeit, only by small amounts. This finding demonstrates that the commonly seen removal of tailgates to reduce aerodynamic drag is a public misconception that should be discouraged by manufacturers and by regulators.