Development of a Novel Characterisation Methodology for the Aerodynamic Coefficients of a Tractor–Trailer Unit Based on Relative Flow Angles and Vehicle Dimensions

  • Vihar Malviya
  • Taimoor Asim
  • Isuru Sendanayake
  • Rakesh Mishra
Open Access
Research Article - Mechanical Engineering
  • 67 Downloads

Abstract

Tractor–trailer units are integral part of the heavy commercial vehicle industry, used globally for goods transportation. Manufacturers have been trying to design aerodynamically efficient tractor–trailer units to reduce ever increasing fuel costs. In order to investigate the aerodynamic response of tractor–trailer units, the aerodynamic forces and moments have to be determined accurately, especially under crosswind conditions. In the present study, a computational fluid dynamics-based solver has been employed to simulate the flow field around a tractor–trailer with a view to quantify the effects of side wind and size variations on aerodynamic force moment system acting on tractor–trailer combination. It has been shown that the aerodynamic forces are significantly influenced by both the geometrical and flow characteristics. The drag, lift and side forces acting on a tractor–trailer unit are highest at relative flow angles of \(15{^{\circ }}\), \(30{^{\circ }}\) and \(90{^{\circ }}\), respectively. Aerodynamic forces and coefficients have been enumerated for these geometrical and flow conditions, and have been used to develop novel semi-empirical correlations for the aerodynamic coefficients for the tractor–trailer unit. These correlations have been shown to predict the aerodynamic coefficients for various vehicle dimensions under a range of flow conditions with reasonable accuracy.

Keywords

Heavy commercial vehicle (HCV)  Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)  Computer-aided design (CAD)  Computer-aided engineering (CAE)  Aerodynamic coefficients 

List of symbols

\(C_{\mathrm{D}}\)

Drag coefficient vehicle (–)

\(C_{\mathrm{L }}\)

Lift coefficient of the vehicle (–)

\(C_{\mathrm{S}}\)

Side coefficient of the vehicle (–)

\(C_{\mathrm{P}}\)

Coefficient of pressure (–)

l

Length of the vehicle (m)

h

Height of the vehicle (m)

w

Width of the vehicle (m)

P

Static gauge pressure (Pa)

U

Flow velocity magnitude (m/s)

Greek symbols

\(\infty \)

Free stream

\(\mu \)

Dynamic viscosity of air (N-s/m\(^{2}\))

\(\rho \)

Density of air (kg/m\(^{3}\))

\(\psi \)

Angle of the flow relative to the vehicle (rad, \({^{\circ }}\))

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© The Author(s) 2018

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vihar Malviya
    • 1
  • Taimoor Asim
    • 1
  • Isuru Sendanayake
    • 1
  • Rakesh Mishra
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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