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Old 02-21-2009, 02:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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CLASS-8 Truck Streamlining / Fuel Economy ( Part- 0) Brief Timeline

The Wal-Mart thread ( has generated some discussion with regards to Big-Rig streamlining.I attempted a thread a month ago but made an accidental keystroke and lost the entire post before I could send it .Here's # 2 attempt.

You are all pretty sick by now of my dragging up the past,and I must admit that I get pretty tired of bringing it up.It was Marie Antoinette would made the comment,"there is nothing new under the Sun." This holds true for 18-wheeler aerodynamics.

We could go back to my "Half-billion years of streamlining," to lay credit for all "future" aerodynamic "innovation" we will see ( or won't see) in the coming years.Nature figured it all out millions of years ago.

Long before the Roman empire,Sumerian boat and ship builders were borrowing from nature.Noah's Ark would be considered an hydrodynamic masterpiece if tested today at MIT.Leonardo da Vinci is known to have studied birds,fish,and the turbulent wakes behind stream bed river stones.Most of his library has been lost,so we'll never know the full depth of his fluid-dynamics understanding.

Tomorrow's solutions to streamlining are linked to Sir George Caley's "trout" of 1800.Solutions are linked to Rufus Porter's "aerial locomotive" of 1847,which pre-dates Count Zeppelin's airship R&D by 50 years.Eiffel's 1910 "Resistance of the Air and Aviation," dovetails into "tomorrow's" solutions.During the second year of WW-I,the control car of Chalais-Meudon's T1 airship embodied the epitomy of trailer design,and was a dead ringer for Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion Car of '34.

The U.S.Navy capitalized on Natures superior forms with the October,1900 launch of the USS Holland submarine, which has become the "Standard" for today's modern Nuclear attack Seawolf design,a form which borrows heavily from the tuna.

By 1922,the publication of "Investigations of the Aerodynamic Drag of Automobiles" by W. Klemperer,essentially closed the book on ground vehicle aerodynamic research.We have yet to fully capitalize on the knowledge handed to us since that date.

By May-June 1932,in the depths of America's first" Great Depression,"the American automotive press was promoting the economic benefits of aerodynamic design to a nation clamoring for recovery not seen until the full employment of a post-Pearl Harbor economy.

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