Aerodynamic Truck Design
A recent proposal of a streamlined truck designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) holds the promise of reducing drag by 63%, which would translate into huge fuel savings. The relentless rise of oil prices has placed increasing importance on truck fuel and aerodynamic efficiency. However, as best as I can tell from pictures of the streamlined design it looks more like a train. It's not obvious to me how this design would maneuver around sharp corners. There is mention of morphing body work but it's not evident in the models presented.
Often it is relatively easy to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of a vehicle to the exclusion of all other constraints. But when you factor in standard constraints, such as the ability to maneuver around sharp corners, the savings will likely be more modest. The standard big-rig in the US could benefit from streamlining and no doubt CFD already plays an important role. However, a total design considering all constraints will be needed if this radical redesign is to influence production vehicles and not just virtual designs.
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