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Optimization of an Underbody Aerodynamic Drag Reduction Device for Trailer Trucks
Mohamed Ibrahim, Martin Agelin-Chaab

Last modified: 2018-04-25


It is well known that the underbody region of a tractor-trailer is responsible for up to 30% of the aerodynamic drag. This is the highest drag created by any region of a tractor-trailer. Low ground clearance and ice collection are a few of the issues that inhibit the mass market appeal of the underbody drag-reduction devices available on the market. This paper deals with the optimization of a novel concept of an underbody drag reduction device, which combines a ramp and a side skirt. Twenty different device configurations were simulated in order to optimize the angle of the ramp and the side skirt simultaneously. The configurations were evaluated based on the average outlet velocity, mass flow rate and the average outlet pressure of the device. The underbody of a class-8 tractor-trailer model was approximated as a channel where the device configuration was simulated. The studies were conducted using numerical simulation in ANSYS Fluent running the RANS based turbulence model, k - ω SST. The optimized device configuration was then applied to NASA’s Generic Conventional Model (GCM), 1/8th scale class-8 tractor-trailer model, and simulated numerically. The overall drag coefficient was reduced by 4.0%.


tractor-trailer; drag reduction; underbody; CFD

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