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Understanding Practical Limits to Heavy Truck Drag Reduction

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-391X, e-ISSN: 1946-3928
Published October 06, 2009 by SAE International in United States
Understanding Practical Limits to Heavy Truck Drag Reduction
Citation: Landman, D., Wood, R., Seay, W., and Bledsoe, J., "Understanding Practical Limits to Heavy Truck Drag Reduction," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 2(2):183-190, 2010,
Language: English


A heavy truck wind tunnel test program is currently underway at the Langley Full Scale Tunnel (LFST). Seven passive drag reducing device configurations have been evaluated on a heavy truck model with the objective of understanding the practical limits to drag reduction achievable on a modern tractor trailer through add-on devices. The configurations tested include side skirts of varying length, a full gap seal, and tapered rear panels. All configurations were evaluated over a nominal 15 degree yaw sweep to establish wind averaged drag coefficients over a broad speed range using SAE J1252. The tests were conducted by first quantifying the benefit of each individual treatment and finally looking at the combined benefit of an ideal fully treated vehicle. Results show a maximum achievable gain in wind averaged drag coefficient (65 mph) of about 31 percent for the modern conventional-cab tractor-trailer.