Flow control techniques and aerodynamic improvements developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology could save the U.S. trucking industry hundreds of millions of gallons of fuel per year.
Aerodynamic improvements on truck trailers -- such as rounded corners -- coupled with pneumatic controls for blowing air from slots, help reduce drag and improve fuel economy for heavy trucks. Georgia Tech Photo
Side view of test truck shows aerodynamic improvements made to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. Georgia Tech Photo
Recent tests done using a full-size tractor-trailer truck show the techniques – which are based on systems originally developed for jet aircraft wings – could increase fuel economy by as much as 11-12 percent. The improvements could also enhance braking and directional control, potentially improving safety for the big vehicles.
“Aerodynamically, we have resolved unknowns raised in earlier testing, and the next step is to get this into a fleet of trucks for more extensive testing,” said Robert Englar, principal research engineer in the Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems Laboratory of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).
John Toon | EurekAlert!
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