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State-of-the-art computer simulations to help save fuel efficiency in semi-trucks

This is Science Today. In the past decade, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have been working with the U.S. Department of Energy to improve the fuel economy of semi-trucks by developing drag reduction devices and improving aerodynamics. Kambiz Salari, a senior scientist at the Livermore Lab, says they perform state-of-the-art computer simulations.

Salari:             We rely on the simulation to understand the flow physics. You can think of it how the flow goes around the vehicle, what are the areas that we can look at and say, yes, here is an area we can treat with certain device and we look at computation as a means of understanding the flow physics.

Narrator:        The treatment the group is currently investigating is putting additional hardware on and around the trailer.

Salari:             These devices come in many different shapes — straight sheet of metal or plastic that gets put in on the side of the trailer that covers the underbody or at the back of the trailer reducing the wake signature of the trailer.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.