Effective aerodynamic features of future trucks

There is no doubt that road vehicle transportation is needed to improve efficiency, to reduce power consumption and to contribute to a sustainable mobility. Aerodynamics plays a crucial role in this, and its optimization can have a significant impact on fuel efficiency. The role of aerodynamic research for transportation is to investigate solutions to improve the aerodynamic performance that minimizes power consumption. The main objective of Guglielmo Minelli's thesis is, therefore, to reduce drag, controlling the external flow that normally surrounds a road vehicle, by means of "active flow control".
Active flow control was shown to be an effective and low energy consumption technique to improve the external aerodynamics of a traveling truck. 

“Controlling the flow around a vehicle, one not only minimizes the aerodynamic drag but also improves the comfort of the driver, reducing noise and soiling,” says Guglielmo Minelli.

He tells that the ambition of Europe is clear: by mid-century, greenhouse gas emissions from transport will need to be at least 60% lower than in 1990 and be firmly on the path towards zero. Emissions of air pollutants from transport that harm our health need to be drastically reduced without delay. 

“Trucks, in particular, need to improve their efficiency to extend their mileage and decrease their power consumption. Thus, improving the aerodynamic features of heavy trucks and road vehicles is a necessary contribution toward the target, and active flow control can play an important role in this” says Guglielmo Minelli.

The results of his work focus on two main points. First, synthetic jets were shown to be an effective and low energy consumption technique to control a pressure induced separated flow. Both computational fluid dynamics results and wind tunnel experiments demonstrated the efficacy of active flow control by significantly improve the aerodynamic performance of a road vehicle. Second, the computational fluid dynamics hybrid numerical method PANS was shown to be an interesting approach for industrial applications. 

“Its capability to resolve unsteady flow cases preserving the accuracy of the flow structures is shown, even when meshes are relatively coarse.” Says Guglielmo Minelli

Guglielmo Minelli will defend his thesis “Flow Control for Aerodynamic Drag Reduction of Trucks” December 8 at 10.00 in lecture hall KB.

Published: Tue 05 Dec 2017.