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Aerodynamic Comparison of Tractor-Trailer Platooning and A-Train Configuration

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-391X, e-ISSN: 1946-3928
Published September 29, 2015 by SAE International in United States
Aerodynamic Comparison of Tractor-Trailer Platooning and A-Train Configuration
Citation: Mihelic, R., Smith, J., and Ellis, M., "Aerodynamic Comparison of Tractor-Trailer Platooning and A-Train Configuration," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 8(2):740-746, 2015,
Language: English


Modern aerodynamic Class 8 freight tractors can improve vehicle freight efficiency and fuel economy versus older traditional style tractors when pulling Canadian style A- or B-Train double trailer long combination vehicles (LCV's) at highway speeds. This paper compares the aerodynamic performance of a current generation aerodynamic tractor with several freight hauling configurations through computational fluid dynamics evaluations using the Lattice-Boltzmann methodology. The configurations investigated include the tractor hauling a standard 53′ trailer, a platooning configuration with a 30′ separation distance, and an A-Train configuration including two 48′ trailers connected with a dolly converter. The study demonstrates CFD's capability of evaluating extremely long vehicle combinations that might be difficult to accomplish in traditional wind tunnels due to size limitations. The paper discusses the relevance of improvements in freight configurations to legislative discussions in the United States and other countries on rules modifications to achieve improved freight efficiency and associated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.