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A Look Inside The World's Largest Automotive Wind Tunnel


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A Look Inside The World's Largest Automotive Wind Tunnel

For 30 years, engineers in GM's Aerodynamics Laboratory have improved automotive fuel economy with this, the world's largest wind tunnel designed for automotive applications. On it's 30th birthday, here's an amazing look inside.

Put into operation in August 1980, the wind tunnel is the largest of its type dedicated to automotive work. But it doesn't just look cool. Over three decades, thanks to the wind tunnel, engineers have cut the coefficient of drag (C D) of GM vehicles by approximately 25%.

To illustrate the benefits, GM claims that reduction in drag, without any other changes, would improve combined fuel economy by two to three miles per gallon. That's the equivalent of saving a driver between $100 and $300 per year on fuel at $3.00 per gallon.

"There are three ways to improve fuel economy – reducing vehicle weight, improving powertrain efficiency, and improving aerodynamics," said Charlie Klein, GM director of Mass, Energy and Aerodynamics. "Of the three, aerodynamics is often the most cost effective way to improve efficiency." It also has the unfortunate effect of making a sedan look like an egg cut lengthwise down the middle.

That's because it's typically the most aerodynamic form for a four-door sedan. Aerodynamics is the efficient management of air flow — measured as drag force — acting against a vehicle. The air flow around a vehicle affects vehicle acceleration, cornering, cooling, comfort, visibility, and especially fuel efficiency. According to the EPA-defined city and highway driving schedule, cutting through the air accounts for 13% of car fuel consumption. For full-size SUVs, the effect is even more pronounced, accounting for 22% of fuel used. That makes sense — they're usually shaped like bricks.

link:

http://jalopnik.com/5605286/a-look-inside-the-worlds-largest-automotive-wind-tunnel

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Air drag tests improve GM's fuel efficiency

The Detroit News

For three decades, engineers have used the GM Aerodynamics Laboratory in Warren to improve fuel economy by helping cars and trucks slip through the air more easily.

The wind tunnel, which celebrates its 30th birthday this week, is the largest of its type dedicated to automotive work. Over three decades, engineers have cut the coefficient of drag of GM vehicles by approximately 25 percent.

Translated: Reduced drag, even without any other changes, improves combined fuel economy by two to three miles per gallon -- the equivalent of $100 to $300 a year in fuel at $3 per gallon, and tens of millions of gallons of fuel per year.

"There are three ways to improve fuel economy: reducing vehicle weight, improving powertrain efficiency and improving aerodynamics," Charlie Klein, GM director of mass, energy and aerodynamics, said in a statement.

"Of the three, aerodynamics is often the most cost-effective way to improve efficiency."

Aerodynamics is the efficient management of air flow, measured as drag force, acting against a vehicle.

The air flow around a vehicle affects vehicle acceleration, cornering, cooling, comfort, visibility and especially fuel efficiency.

For cars, cutting through the air accounts for 13 percent of all fuel consumed, according to the Environmental Protection Agency-defined city and highway driving schedule. For full-size SUVs, the effect is even more pronounced: 22 percent of fuel used.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100806/AUTO01/8060344/1148/auto01/Air-drag-tests-improve-GM-s-fuel-efficiency#ixzz0vpZJXaex

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GM's 125-mph wind tunnel buffets Fox News reporter

01:13 PM

Pretty funny: Fox Business News reporter Jeff Flock braves winds of more than 125 mph inside General Motors giant wind tunnel in this cable TV report. Though he's harnessed, the winds are strong enough to scare the pants off our intrepid reporter, who says he believes his may be the first live report from inside such a man-made vortex.

There was actually a reason to be there: the 30th anniversary of GM's gh-tech wind tunnel, technically the General Motors Aerodynamics Laboratory. GM says that since the tunnel opened, its engineers have been able to cut wind drag on its vehicles by about 25%. That has raised gas mileage, GM says, an average 2-3 mpg per vehicle and is saving drivers up to 300 bucks a year, based on $3-a-gallon gas.

The vehicle in the video is Chevy's new Cruze due out in September.

link:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/08/gm-wind-tunnel-knocks-down-fox-news-reporter-at-100-mph/1

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