Experimental investigation of the effects of mudflaps on wheel aerodynamics by means of a simulated moving ground

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This work provides a foundation for designing aerodynamic mudflaps used in heavy-duty vehicles, which will help these vehicles become greener. First, a simulated moving ground consisting of a leading edge, roller setup and a novel tangential blowing system was devised as an alternative to the expensive conveyor belts necessary for pertinent experiments. The crucial design parameters, such as rounded, smaller support walls and uniform pressure inputs, were determined using two initial blowing slot designs. Next, a boundary layer analysis and tests on an isolated wheel using planar PIV demonstrated its ability to drastically reduce the effects of the boundary layer and accurately emulate wheel flow. Finally, mudflaps of different solidity and solidity locations were tested using stereoscopic PIV measurements on a simplified setup. Drag estimates showed that more solidity led to higher drag and wake skewing, and having lesser solidity on the top gave 15% lower drag than the bottom.