TotalSim’s TS Truck App is used to improve Semi-Trailer Efficiency
Inventure, an innovator in transportation technology, wanted to refine trailer skirt designs with the intent of maximizing aerodynamic efficiency on a 53’ box trailer. Skirts are fixed to the underside of a semi-trailer with the purpose of improving aerodynamic efficiency.
There are several methods to physically evaluate aerodynamic devices on vehicles which include wind tunnel testing at both full scale and model scale, as well as on-road testing. However, testing at a wind tunnel facility can be challenging due to the costs, test part prototyping, and lead times. Testing preliminary designs typically require several iterations which would mean several trips to the wind tunnel or test track
Type of TotalSim Engagement:
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)* is the perfect tool for evaluating airflow of initial designs. Most wind tunnel tests are model scale, while CFD simulations are typically at full scale and a wide range of speeds and wind angles. Results from simulations are typically available in less than 24 hours and multiple simulations can be run concurrently. With such a quick turn around, it decreases the time needed for the next design iteration and can cover a larger range of design options. If restricted to testing only in a wind tunnel, design iterations could take weeks, if not months.
Inventure chose to utilize TotalSim’s web-based CFD application TS Truck. TS Truck was developed by combining all of TotalSim’s best practices and know-how developed over decades of experience and packaging it into an intuitive web interface. The App was created so that engineers can easily set up, run and evaluate CFD simulations even if they have little to no experience using CFD. The automated application only requires the user to upload the geometry and input basic run conditions. The App configures the CFD simulation and automatically executes the entire process from meshing through solving and post processing of the data and visualizations. In TS Truck, the baseline tractor and trailer geometry is pre-loaded into the App as well as data for several baseline wind angles.
What TotalSim did:
TotalSim provided aerodynamic design feedback and suggestions on analysis. Inventure was able to upload, setup and process the simulations on their own.
Inventure achieved its goal of designing a trailer skirt that maximizes aerodynamic efficiency. This meant the first physical prototype they built was far ahead of the initial concept and saved time and cost compared to testing these design iterations at a wind tunnel or test track. All of this was achieved in a matter of months.