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Computational Fluid Dynamics – How We Make SmartTruck Products Smarter

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a well-defined performance testing method accepted by the EPA. CFD specifically uses sophisticated computer SIMULATION to identify and measure drag forces on moving objects ranging from race cars to aircraft, to ballistics, to long-haul trailers. It’s CFD that allows aircraft designers to not only know that their new design will actually fly, but how it will perform.

When we started designing with CFD, it was new to the trucking industry. In the years since, CFD has become more widely recognized as the state-of-the-art standard in advanced aerodynamic design, and is now accepted by the EPA as an accepted method for measuring the drag-reduction efficiency of aerodynamic devices. We envision a future where older standards like coast-down testing and wind tunnel tests are replaced with the more advanced CFD method.

With CFD, we don’t just think our products will revolutionize trucking…we know.

Learn More About CFD – Watch the Videos


We visit the SIMCENTER at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


See how TopKit reduces drag and improves fuel-efficiency

How CFD impacts our product design, refinement and testing
DESIGN

For each SmartTruck product, we start with a wide variety of trailer fairing design ideas. In the early days of aerodynamic design, wind tunnels were a go‐to testing method for designers looking at aircraft and automotive modeling. However, wind tunnels are a limited alternative to CFD, since what’s called the “boundary layer”, i.e., the thin layer of air sticking to the trailer, can’t be precisely duplicated in a wind tunnel environment, and accurately modeling the space between the trailer and the road is nearly impossible.

REFINEMENT

Sophisticated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and an optimization process using a Genetic Algorithm (GA) enable us to hone and precisely refine our designs. Where appropriate, SmartTruck engineers have the option to manipulate the model utilizing the genetic optimizer within given constraints (such as drag, down‐force, etc.) and run the optimized shape concept through CFD testing. This provides us with a quick evaluation of numerous design modifications as well as advanced methods capable to predict the complex flow around a complete trailer.

TESTING

Computerized Fluid Dynamics is now an accepted, appropriate and reliable test mechanism approved by the EPA for GHGP2 validation. In addition, it allows us to model and test the drag reduction impacts of not only our solutions, but combinations of our solutions with other aero components (ours or other providers) or real-world scenarios, such as linked pups or trailer platooning.