Eagles, N. and Cragun, M., "A Parametric Assessment of Skirt Performance on a Single Bogie Commercial Vehicle," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 6(2):459-476, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-2415.
A Department of Energy funded research project currently in the final stages of completion has resulted in a web-based tool that gives non-expert users the ability to add aerodynamic devices to a CFD model of a single bogie trailer and generalized tractor model. This model was used to assess the aerodynamic performance of skirt geometries. The skirts were defined using 5 independent geometric parameters and 2 installation parameters. These parameters allow enough freedom in the geometry definition to capture the shape and installation position and angle of a wide number of commercially available skirts on the market today. Using a Design of Experiments approach, the aerodynamic drag response of the truck and trailer to any parametric change in the skirt geometry has been determined across a range of yaw angles. This response surface has then been used to assess the likely range of possible wind averaged drag reduction, and hence fuel economy benefits within the parametric definition of the skirt. The mechanism(s) by which the skirts reduce the drag on the vehicle is also presented.