Experimental Investigation of Aerodynamic benefits of Class 8 Tractor-Trailer Platooning

Paper #:
  • 2018-01-0732

Published:
  • 2018-04-03
Abstract:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been funded by Department of Energy (DOE)/Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)/Vehicle Technology Office to conduct series of scaled wind tunnel test to investigate the aerodynamic benefits of heavy vehicle platooning. In 2015 and 2016 LLNL has conducted platooning experiments using Army’s 7’x10’ wind tunnel located at NASA Ames Research Facility. For these tests, LLNL has designed and fabricated a wind tunnel platform to test truck platoons up to three vehicle configurations with the maximum vehicle separation distance of 320 feet full-scale. This unique platform accounts for the crosswind effects on the drag force and cooling air supply for yaw angles ranging from -15 to 15 degrees. The pressure measurements for all vehicles are taken at mid-grille height. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), a type of instantaneous flow visualization, is used to probe the physics involved. All wind tunnel baseline vehicle models are equipped with skirts. The following vehicle configurations have been tested and the results will be presented in the paper: • Aligned – single vehicle, baseline, w/o trailer boattails • Aligned – two vehicles, separation distance 5-320 feet, w/o trailer boattails • Aligned – three vehicles, separation distance between first and second 30-50 feet, and between second and third 5-220 feet • Misaligned – two vehicles, misaligned percentage based on the trailer width 0-50%, w/o trailer boattails With the following diagnostics to measure performance and visualize the flow: • Body axis force measurements for each vehicle • Mid-grille height pressure measurements for each vehicle • Thermal imaging for flow separation visualization • Three-component Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) to instantaneously visualize the flow field This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344 (LLNL-ABS-738500)
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