Top News from Leading Digital Manufacturing Solution Providers
February 22, 2013
Stocking Tractor-Trailers with MPGs
Ian Armas Foster
The semi-trucks you see on the highway were primarily designed for storage and transportation and not necessarily energy efficiency. Therefore, it may not be surprising that according to HPC for Energy, these trucks constitute 12 percent of the fuel consumption in the United States.
But work done by Navistar in concert with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory showed that a significant portion of that fuel consumption could be reduced by simple changes to the structure of the tractor-trailer.
They began by using a one-eight scale model of a semi-truck inside a wind tunnel to run various tests. With HPC modeling and simulation, HPC for Energy reports that they were able to extrapolate various windy conditions based on these small-model tests. From there, they could begin running optimization programs to target fuel economy.
Ultimately, the LLNL and Navistar proposed four alterations to be made to optimize aerodynamic conditions. A base at the end of the trailer would give the truck a more rounded feel, thus allowing the air flow more smoothly around it. A similar adjustment to the underbody of the trailer would introduce an element of lift (not enough, of course, to lift the trailer off the ground) that would reduce the mechanical weight of the truck as it went at higher speeds. This would also serve to reduce the drag on the back axle.
The third adjustment introduces a small barrier between the cabin and the trailer that prevents air from flowing between the two to further bring down the drag force.
The final suggestion is friction-related, as Navistar and LLNL recommend replacing the common two back tires with a single oversized tire to decrease rolling resistance.
According to the presentation, the proposed modifications could save up to 4.6 billion gallons of fuel per year in the United States alone, cutting semi fuel usage by 17%. As such, these trucks across the nation are beginning to be retro-fitted to these specifications.
These simulations are already having an effect on the tractor-trailer industry primarily because of the HPC capabilities shared between the two institutions. The years it would normally take to run these simulations were reduced to only a few months, allowing these changes to be implemented sooner, ultimately saving more fuel and delivering a greater impact.
Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production. Read more...
During today’s visit to Raleigh, North Carolina, President Obama came to North Carolina State University to announce the next manufacturing innovation institute. The “Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute” will bring together six universities and 18 private-sector companies throughout the region to further drive research in next-generation power electronics. Read more...
As a part of President Obama's Material's Genome Initiative, many researchers have set their sights on developing materials the likes of which we've never seen. But engineers at Duke University are using supercomputers to back a materials project that aims to do just the opposite: find a metal that performs like platinum, but at a lower cost. Read more...
Jan 24, 2014 |
Local Motors, a vehicle innovator, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced a new partnership that they hope will bring change to the automotive industry. Read more...
Jan 22, 2014 |
A month ago, the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials (DRC) commenced. The main goal of the event was to aid in the development of robots that will someday respond to natural or even man-made disasters. At this year’s DRC, prototype robots from 16 teams were put through a series of trials in which they were to showcase their skills. Read more...
Jan 17, 2014 |
Engineers at the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a new technology that could come in handy when electronic devices run out of power. Their idea stems from a source of power generation that we are all familiar with; windmills. Read more...
Jan 15, 2014 |
With the NFL playoffs drawing to a close, the four final teams are willing to do whatever it takes to defeat their opponent and make it to the Super Bowl. While the players on these teams are some of the best athletes in the world, at some point they must... Read more...
Jan 09, 2014 |
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, NVIDIA announced that it’s Tegra K1 mobile processor will be used in autonomous cars of the future. Currently being utilized by the world’s top ten energy-efficient computers, the Tegra K1 has already gained attention in the HPC community. Read more...
07/30/2013 | IBM | This white paper examines various means of adapting technical computing tools to accelerate product and services innovation across a range of commercial industries such as manufacturing, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment and retail. No longer is technically advanced computing limited to the confines of big government labs and academic centers. Today it is available to a wide range of organizations seeking a competitive edge.
06/25/2013 | Intel | The UberCloud HPC Experiment has achieved the volunteer participation of 500 organizations and individuals from 48 countries with the aim of exploring the end-to-end process employed by digital manufacturing engineers to access and use remote computing resources in HPC centers and in the cloud. This Compendium of 25 case studies is an invaluable resource for engineers, managers and executives who believe in the strategic importance of applying advanced technologies to help drive their organization’s productivity to perceptible new levels.