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National lab takes steps to improve fuel economy of semi-trucks

    This is Science Today. At the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, scientists have been working to improve the fuel economy of semi-trucks by designing ways to make tractor trailers more aerodynamic and reduce drag. Lab scientist Kambiz Salari says they rely heavily on massive hardware at the Lab to do computer simulations.

Salari:        We do a lot of small scale, so when we have an idea, which we get computationally, if the idea seems to be useful and we run a lot of simulation to see what is the potential in terms of drag reduction, then the next step is to take it to a small scale wind tunnel and see if we can get a similar performance that we have observed on computation.

Narrator:    The Lab also goes large scale - using the country's only full-scale wind tunnel at the NASA Ames Research Center located at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. Over the years, Salari says they've developed partnerships with manufacturers, too.

Salari:        The hope is in the next few years we push forward and have something positive for the country to show.

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