Combating High Fuel Prices

Tools

For every cross-country trip that tractor trailers make a year, gallons upon gallons of diesel fuel is burned. Rising fuel prices can quickly eat into profit margins.

Clarkson Engineering professor Ken Visser and graduate student Joshua Kehs are looking at developing fuel saving technologies by streamlining the way a rig travels on the highway.

"The tractor trailer is moving through the air, and of course the air goes around the tractor.  And then right towards the end, all of a sudden, in almost no space at all, that air flow has to come back together," says Clarkson University Engineering Professor Ken Visser.
 
                                        
With the help of a full scale prototype model and a wind tunnel, the Clarkson researchers have designed a way to help reduce aerodynamic drag, or the amount of air resistance blown over and around tractor trailers at typical highway speeds. By altering the truck's rear door configuration from the air drag is reduced and mileage is improved

"You could see fuel savings up around 8% something like that," adds Visser.
 

The type of trailer tail unit designed by Clarkson researchers has been cross country road tested by a local trucking fleet. It has generated fuel savings of between 6% and 9%.


The Clarkson researchers are also looking into ways to apply the trailer tail technology to rigs that use a sliding up and down rear door rather than side to side.

Thursday, October 2, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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