9% lower fuel costs for trucks from enhanced drag reduction
The SmartFlap technology provides possibly the best yet solution to reducing drag caused by the turbulent wake at the back of a truck. It uses actively controlled flaps, of similar size to the currently available static systems, which operate at a slow speed over a narrow range of movement, delivering fuel savings of up to 9%. The demonstrated drag reduction and potentially low cost of the system make it a cost effective investment for truck operators. Also, the size of the flaps and ease of installation ensure that they will be robust and unobtrusive for loading and unloading operations as well as on the road.
Building on over 5 years of intensive research into the behaviour of turbulent wakes on the bluff body shape of trucks, engineers at Imperial College London have optimised a system which accounts for the effects of yaw angle flow caused by either cross winds or vehicle manoeuvring, e.g. cornering and overtaking. Resulting from a deep understanding of the flow fields created around the truck in these conditions, the team has developed an adaptive flap system that modifies in real-time the flow around the truck.
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