Investigation of Tractor Base Bleeding for Heavy Vehicle Aerodynamic Drag Reduction

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One of the main contributors to the aerodynamic drag of a heavy vehicle is tractor-trailer gap drag, which arises when the vehicle operates within a crosswind. Under this operating condition, freestream flow is entrained into the tractor-trailer gap, imparting a momentum exchange to the vehicle and subsequently increasing the aerodynamic drag. While a number of add-on devices, including side extenders, splitter plates, vortex stabilizers, and gap sealers, have been previously tested to alleviate this source of drag, side extenders remain the primary add-on device of choice for reducing tractor-trailer gap drag. However, side extenders are not without maintenance and operational ... continued below

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Ortega, J; Salari, K & Storms, B October 25, 2007.

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One of the main contributors to the aerodynamic drag of a heavy vehicle is tractor-trailer gap drag, which arises when the vehicle operates within a crosswind. Under this operating condition, freestream flow is entrained into the tractor-trailer gap, imparting a momentum exchange to the vehicle and subsequently increasing the aerodynamic drag. While a number of add-on devices, including side extenders, splitter plates, vortex stabilizers, and gap sealers, have been previously tested to alleviate this source of drag, side extenders remain the primary add-on device of choice for reducing tractor-trailer gap drag. However, side extenders are not without maintenance and operational issues. When a heavy vehicle pivots sharply with respect to the trailer, as can occur during loading or unloading operations, the side extenders can become crushed against the trailer. Consequently, fleet operators are forced to incur additional costs to cover the repair or replacement of the damaged side extenders. This issue can be overcome by either shortening the side extenders or by devising an alternative drag reduction concept that can perform just as effectively as side extenders. To explore such a concept, we investigate tractor base bleeding as a means of reducing gap drag. Wind tunnel measurements are made on a 1:20 scale heavy vehicle model at a vehicle width-based Reynolds number of 420,000. The tractor bleeding flow, which is delivered through a porous material embedded within the tractor base, is introduced into the tractor-trailer gap at bleeding coefficients ranging from 0.0-0.018. To determine the performance of tractor base bleeding under more realistic operating conditions, computational fluid dynamics simulations are performed on a full-scale heavy vehicle within a crosswind for bleeding coefficients ranging from 0.0-0.13.

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PDF-file: 19 pages; size: 2.9 Mbytes

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  • Presented at: The Aerodynamics of Heavy Vehicles II: Trucks, Buses, and Trains, Tahoe City, CA, United States, Aug 26 - Aug 31, 2007

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  • Report No.: UCRL-PROC-235892
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923101
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc893570

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  • October 25, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 3:44 p.m.

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Ortega, J; Salari, K & Storms, B. Investigation of Tractor Base Bleeding for Heavy Vehicle Aerodynamic Drag Reduction, article, October 25, 2007; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc893570/: accessed August 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.