Reducing Vehicle Drag
People do not realize it but vehicle drag is a big factor
in your fuel economy. Hitch a trailer to the back of your vehicle and
see your fuel economy drop.
What about trucks that pull trailers all day? Many solutions
have been found. One is presented here below just so you can see how
a simple idea can save $$$ and fuel.
What is Airtabs™ and how does it work?
A company called Aerospace Technologies Ltd. developed a number of
years ago an interesting product called Airtabs™.
As vehicles go down the road, air rushes in the back of the vehicle
to fill out the space that was just vacated. With the typical square
and flat back of a truck or trailer, the incoming air has to make
a sharp bend which creates a lot of drag and turbulence. This takes
to overcome, and therefore fuel.
Anyone who has driven behind a tractor
trailer when it is raining has witnessed first hand the turbulent
mass of airborne water behind the trailer. Wind resistance can account
over 50% of the engine load at highway speeds.
Top view of a truck without Airtabs
The installation of small ABS plastic airflow streamliners (vortex
generators) called Airtabs™ around
the trailing edge of a vehicle creates controlled swirls of air.
vortices reduce wind resistance (or aerodynamic drag) that is present
behind each vehicle. Since less effort is required to overcome this
drag, it results in fuel savings. It also dramatically reduces the
on trailers and can have a tremendous impact on the handing of double
trailers. The rear of the vehicle is kept cleaner
since less road grime is lifted up. Tire life is also increased.
An interesting video showing a simulation of the before and the after
flow on a tractor and trailer truck is available on the video
page on the Airtab web site.
What vehicle can use Airtabs™ and what do they look like?
Airtabs™ are designed to work on
trucks, trailers, straight trucks, cargo vans, RVs and Buses... basically
any big box
going down the road
at highway speeds.
Each Airtabs™ measures 4.76” long,
by 3.25” wide, and stick out only 1" and can easily
be installed. They come in black or white and can be painted
over using any automotive paint.
Three are put per linear foot, down the sides and across
the top at the back of the vehicle.
People have also started putting it on the hoods of their vehicles to
reduce the number of bugs on the windshield and to reduce the airflow
noise when the windows are open.
Benefits of using Airtabs™
Here is a summary of the benefits on installing Airtabs™ as
outlined by the company's web site:
- fuel savings of 2% to 4%
- clients consistently see 30,000-mile increase in steering tire
- Reduced splash and spray
- Improved visibility in rain and snow.
- Reduced cross wind effects
- Reduced driver fatigue
- Reduced Dirt Build up
- A cleaner truck gives an improved image
For more information, you can go to the company web site at http://www.airtab.com/