Ekman, P., Gårdhagen, R., Virdung, T., and Karlsson, M., "Aerodynamic Drag Reduction - from Conceptual Design on a Simplified Generic Model to Full-Scale Road Tests," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-1543, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-1543.
Road transportation by trucks is the major part of the goods transportations system in the European Union (EU), and there is a need for increased fuel efficiency. While truck manufacturers already spend significant resources in order to reduce the emissions from their vehicles, most truck manufacturers do not control the shape of the trailer and/or swap bodies. These devices are usually manufactured by different companies that cannot consider the overall aerodynamics around the complete vehicle.By use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and previous wind tunnel experiments, the flow around a simplified generic tractor-trailer model has been investigated. With better understanding of the flow features around the tractor with attached trailer or swap bodies, an improved design of the trailer and swap body can be achieved, which is the aim for the project. Special emphasis is put on achieving simple, easy to install or implement drag-reducing geometrical modifications to the trailer or swap bodies that can be mounted on existing trucks.Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations were used for the conceptual development phase where trends in drag reduction due to the modified geometries were studied using a parameter study, while more advanced scale resolving simulations (SRS) were used in order to investigate the details of the flow fields.The investigation indicates that aerodynamic drag reduction is possible with quite simple geometrical modifications. Some of the results have also been verified through road tests of vehicles in commercial use, which has shown reduced fuel consumption of up to 5%.