UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Boundary-layer control of bluff bodies with application to drag reduction of tractor-trailer truck configurations Ying, Bin


Effectiveness of two fundamentally different concepts of boundary-layer control for the drag reduction of bluff bodies is studied experimentally. The methods are: (i) Moving Surface Boundary-layer Control (MSBC) involving momentum injection through one or more rotating elements (light hollow cylinders); and (ii) tripping of the boundary-layer using judiciously located fences to interrupt pressure recovery. Wind tunnel tests with a two-dimensional wedge airfoil model suggest that injection of momentum can significantly delay separation of the boundary-layer resulting in a narrow wake and the associated reduction in the pressure drag. It also leads to a substantial increase in the lift at a given angle of attack resulting in a dramatic rise in the lift to drag ratio, from 2 to 80, under optimum conditions. Effectiveness of the momentum injection process is primarily governed by the gap-size, cylinder surface roughness and the ratio of the cylinder surface velocity (Uc) to the free stream velocity (U). A three-dimensional model of a rectangular prism and a 1/12 scale model of a typical tractor-trailer truck configuration show that both the MSBC and fence approaches are promising in reducing the aerodynamic resistance. A kit configuration is proposed for ease of implementation of the concepts on new and existing trailers. Road tests with a full scale cube-truck are recommended to assess effectiveness of the boundary-layer control procedures in reducing the drag during highway conditions.

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