The application of piezo-electrically-driven synthetic-jet-based active flow control to reduce drag on tractor-trailers and to improve thermal mixing in refrigerated trailers was explored on full-scale tests. The active flow control technique that is being used relies on a modular system comprised of distributed, small, highly efficient actuators. These actuators, called synthetic jets, are jets that are synthesized at the edge of an orifice by a periodic motion of a piezoelectric diaphragm(s) mounted on one (or more) walls of a sealed cavity. The synthetic jet is zero net mass flux (ZNMF), but it allows momentum transfer to flow. It is typically driven near diaphragm and/or cavity resonance, and therefore, small electric input [O(10W)] is required. Another advantage of this actuator is that no plumbing is required. The system doesn’t require changes to the body of the truck, can be easily reconfigured to various types of vehicles, and consumes small amounts of electrical power from the existing electrical system of the truck. The actuators are operated in a closed feedback loop based on inputs received from the tractor’s electronic control unit, various system components and environmental sensors. The data are collected and processed on-board and transmitted to a cloud-based data management platform for further big data analytics and diagnostics. The system functions as a smart connected product through the interchange of data between the physical truck-mounted system and its cloud platform.
David Menicovich, Michael Amitay, and Daniele Gallardo, "Piezoelectric-based actuators for improved tractor-trailer performance (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10166, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2017, 101660A (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 26, 2017; Published: 10 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2263982.5427412070001.
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