• Numerical Study of Track-Trailer Gap Aerodynamics

      Yang, Zhiyin; Lu, Yiling; Charles, Terrance Priestley (University of Derby, 2020-12-08)
      Aerodynamics have become an essential design process for ground vehicles in order to improve the fuel consumption by lowering the emissions along with increasing the range of vehicles using different source of power. A significant portion of the world CO2 emissions is a result of ground vehicles with a more significant portion of these contributed by trucks. The boxy nature of trucks is the desired shape to carry maximum payload. However, a box shaped geometry is not aerodynamically efficient. Several manufacturers have developed aerodynamic add on devices that are optimized to the shape of the truck, in order to achieve gains in lowering emission and improving range by deeper understanding of the flow physics around the vehicle. The thesis reports an in-depth understanding of the flow field within the gap region of a tractor trailer combination truck and how several aerodynamic add on devices reduce the overall drag of a truck. The gap region of a truck typically contributes to about 20-25% of the overall vehicle drag and hence presents an opportunity for considerable level of drag reduction. A basic two box bluff body (2D & 3D) model was used to investigate how the flow field changes by changing the gap width between the two bluff bodies. A section of the thesis investigates the sudden increase in drag coefficient of the downstream cube around 2D tandem bluff bodies. Distinct flow patterns were observed in the gap and around the 2D tandem at different gap ratios. The sudden change in drag coefficient for the 2D downstream bluff body is well captured numerically, which is due to the wake of the upstream cube impinging onto the front face of the downstream cube. A steady increase in drag coefficient is witnessed for the 3D cubes which are consistent with previous experimental findings. The steady increase in drag coefficient is due to the vortical structures formed around the 3D cubes which are different, which consist of a smooth transition. Hence, they result in steady increase in drag coefficient. A second study was conducted on a realistic truck like test case with the simplified truck model where the leading edges of the tractor were rounded off to manipulate the flow separation. As a result of leading edge rounding off the flow separation reduced significantly resulting in a major portion of the flow remain attached to the lateral walls of the tractor. This was seen to increase the flow entering the gap region between the tractor and trailer. Finally, several add on devices which were subdivided based on tractor and trailer mounted devices were numerically assessed with several other devices within the gap region. Significant level of drag reduction was achieved for the entire truck with these add on devices. The highest drag reduction was achieved with the base bleeding technique. Overall, the research has shown that it is important to control the flow condition within the gap region and maintain an even pressure on the front face of the trailer. The base bleeding method proved to be a vital technique to further reduce drag.