|The performance of single wide tires is one of the main areas of focus of the test. Shown here are Michelin X-One tires. Source: Michelin.|
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has launched a nationwide test of heavy-duty trucks that will include special monitoring equipment on six instrumented tractors and nine instrumented trailers.
During the next 12 months, these specially equipped tractor-trailers, owned by Schrader Trucking Company of Jefferson City, Tenn., will haul freight across the United States on regular truck runs.
Data acquisition systems will be on board to measure each vehicle’s performance, including vehicle and engine speed, engine torque and fuel consumption. Performance data will also take into consideration such physical factors as wind speed, direction, road grade, precipitation and other conditions that vary during long-haul truck runs.
One of the prime areas to be studied is tire performance with the use of new generation wide-based single tires produced by Michelin. Standard dual tires mounted on drive and trailer wheels—along with steer tires mounted on tractor steer axles—will also be tested for comparison purposes on some of the trucks.
Earlier interstate tests by ORNL’s National Transportation Research Center found that gas mileage increased nearly 3% with use of wider single tires on tractor-trailers. Bill Knee, who headed the study, said the change also allows widening of the trailer frame by six inches, providing a much more stable configuration. (Earlier post.)
Special equipment on the instrumented trucks includes a weather station, GPS antenna, a self-weighing system, and a tire inflation monitoring system.
Data collected will support modeling efforts for trucks of the future, and will be made available to automotive engineers in the trucking industry as they work to develop more energy efficient and safer trucks. The data will also help the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) efforts in supporting future investments in energy-efficiency technologies.
The project is a partnership effort between ORNL, Schrader Trucking, Michelin and DOE’s Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.