Freightliner LLC has opened an advanced transportation research facility to study aerodynamics of heavy- and medium-duty vehicles. Located near the company's Portland OR headquarters, the new Freightliner Wind Tunnel accommodates a full-size heavy-duty truck. Over the coming years, the Freightliner Group will use data and experience from the wind tunnel testing to refine aerodynamics on its trucks with the objective of reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
The 12,000-square-foot wind tunnel facility will allow for a uniform, repeatable airflow over the vehicle being tested. This will enable Freightliner engineers to collect data on airflow and aerodynamic performance. Sensors will provide information regarding wind load and surface pressures on the vehicle as a whole and for specific parts.
Non-toxic fog will be used to provide airflow visualization and qualitative data regarding localized airflow. An instrumentation system is employed to operate the wind tunnel, monitor ambient conditions, and record aerodynamic data.
The Freightliner Wind Tunnel was designed by the Freightliner engineering team with help from the Freightliner Vehicle Systems Technology Center , NASA Ames Research Center, Portland State University, and the Mercedes-Benz Trucks analysis team. Construction of the facility began in May 2003 and was completed in April 2004.