Applying theory to practice

Published: 13 January 2020

New EU legislation on vehicle emissions, the so-called WLTP Directive, is increasing the driving forces for reducing emissions. At Luleå University of Technology, a student group has investigated how spoilers on light trucks might help with that.

The third-year students of the Master Programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering recently presented their project work in the course Experimental Methods. One of the groups, with the students Oskar Skogh, Evelina Oskarsson and Daniel Kollberg, undertook a sharp project in collaboration with the business community. The company Berco Produktion in Skellefteå manufactures spoilers and bodywork for vehicles of various kinds, and wanted to investigate how spoilers affect the air resistance of a light truck – and by extension the truck's emissions.
– It was very developing and fun to do something more practical, to actually build something and apply all the theoretical knowledge we learned during the programme so far, says Evelina Oskarsson.

The investigations conducted by the group have mainly been carried out in a wind tunnel with a self-constructed model of a light truck, here manufactured in frigolite. The model has then been fitted with spoilers on the roof, on the side and also along the lower sides.
The tests show that the air resistance with roof and side spoilers can reduce the air resistance by just over 15%, compared to a vehicle completely without spoilers.
– We were certain that it would reduce the air resistance, but not by how much, says Oskar Skogh.

According to the students, cooperation with the business community has been rewarding.
– Being able to do something that has a significance "in real life" feels good, and the company has been easy to deal with, says Daniel Kollberg.
The students have handled the collaboration with Berco themselves from the first contact, representatives from the company have traveled up to Luleå for a meeting during the work, and soon the company will find out about the group's results.
– It feels good, but I think wer're all a little nervous about what they will think. Hopefully they think we have done a good job and that they can use this in their business. If nothing else, they now have something to start from in coming studies, says Oskar Skogh.
The idea is that the company will use the data in collaboration with a large truck manufacturer in the future.