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Aerodynamics of an Unloaded Timber Truck - A CFD Investigation

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-391X, e-ISSN: 1946-3928
Published September 27, 2016 by SAE International in United States
Aerodynamics of an Unloaded Timber Truck - A CFD Investigation
Citation: Ekman, P., Gardhagen, R., Virdung, T., and Karlsson, M., "Aerodynamics of an Unloaded Timber Truck - A CFD Investigation," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 9(2):217-223, 2016,
Language: English


Reducing energy consumption and emissions are ongoing challenges for the transport sector. The increased number of goods transports emphasize these challenges even more, as greenhouse gas emissions from these vehicles increased by 20 % between 1990 and 2013, in Sweden. One special case of goods transports is the transport of timber. Today in Sweden, around 2000 timber trucks transport around six billion ton kilometers every year. For every ton kilometer these vehicles use around 0.025 liter diesel, and there should exist large possibilities to reduce the fuel consumption and the emissions for these vehicles. Timber trucks spend most of their operation time travelling in speeds of around 80 km/h. At this speed aerodynamic drag contributes to around 30 % of the total vehicle resistance, which makes the aerodynamic drag a significant part of the energy consumption. One of the big challenges with timber trucks is that they travel unloaded half of the time. This put higher demands on possible drag reduction modifications, as they need to function and be practical for both when the timber truck is loaded and unloaded. In this study an unloaded timber truck has been investigated by use of computational fluid dynamics. The recently released Stress Blended Eddy Simulation model has been used for simulating the flow over a timber truck at a Reynolds number of 1.1 million, based on the square root of its frontal area. From the results it could be seen that 52.8 % of the drag is generated by the cab. By investigating a drag reduction device that covered the gap between the bulkhead and the first stake pair, a drag reduction up to 6.7 % was possible, which shows potential for simple modifications that not influence the daily usage.