Null Winds Technology - Direct Sales
Upper Wheel Deflectors (1 Set)
COMING SOON! Early 2023
Null Winds Technology's Upper Wheel Deflectors are low-cost, easily installed aerodynamic deflector panels that are proven to be even more effective in windy conditions, precisely when fuel economy suffers the most. This patented method for optimal vehicle drag reduction proves that ALL open-wheel vehicles needlessly waste fuel by exposing the much faster forward-moving uppermost wheel surfaces directly to headwinds. Extensively road-tested on both loaded semi-trailers and on bicycles, this innovative approach uses an optimally sized panel to shield only the faster upper wheel in order to actually minimize vehicle drag. New Upper Wheel Deflectors avoid needless fuel waste, by using standard beam clamps to secure a slanted rigid panel to 3-inch tall I-beams spaced around 12 inches apart, to divert headwinds around the much faster upper tire surfaces that otherwise induce far more vehicle drag than does the deflector itself.
Null Winds Technology's Upper Wheel Deflectors have shown ~¾% fuel savings on fully-loaded 53’ semitrailers under industry standard no-wind (our worst case) conditions. Extensive road testing has proven that in headwind (best case) conditions, gains can more than double, even triple. So for a much smaller class six box truck in windy conditions, savings should far exceed 1%, and could easily double facing headwinds. Thus, shorter 28’ LTL semi-trucks or even 53’ trailers with too short trailer skirts (exposing wheels to crosswinds) will also benefit, especially in windy conditions. LTL fleets can now save otherwise wasted fuel with our low-cost deflector panels. And drivers of class six box trucks have even noticed a smoother highway cruise.
For class 6-8 box truck and semi-trailers, one set of panels clamp to 3 inch tall I-beans ideally spaced about 12 inches apart. However, the clamps can also be adjusted for I-beam spacing anywhere between from 10-14 inches apart. Please confirm your I-beam configuration. Deflectors are made of conventional trailer skirt panel for years of worry-free performance. Hardward consists of simple U-channel stems supporting the panel that are connected to standard I-beam clamps via simple angle brackets using 3/8" bolts. A set of panels can be easily assembled and installed on the truck in less than 30 minutes. And the vertical position of the deflector panels can be adjusted for either the typical 5-6" tire clearance on class six box trucks or for 3-4" typical tire clearance on most semitrailers.
For a Limited time, FREE sample panel or discounted full set.
Fleet Managers: Please contact us @ email@example.com for a promo code to order your FREE sample panel, or good for an equivalent discount toward a full panel set. Code can be applied at checkout. (Fleets ≥10 LTL Vehicles)
Don't wait to evaluate this new patented aerodynamic device on your LTL truck or trailer. Introductory pricing for early adopters will not last. Take advantage of introductory discounts to outfit your fleet now. And be one of the first to enjoy enhanced fuel savings with our economical, cost-effective deflector panels.
Drag Mechanics Further Explained (for only those with a technical interest).
Our numerous patents show that all open-wheeled vehicles needlessly waste fuel by exposing the top portion of the wheel whose surface necessarily moves forward directly against the wind at twice the vehicle speed. (It is only the outline of the wheel that appears to move forward at the vehicle speed. The wheel surfaces move forward anywhere between zero at the stationary ground to up to twice the vehicle speed at the top of the wheel.) Thus, if the vehicle speed is at 65 mph, the top forward-moving surface of the open wheel is exposed to 130 mph winds plus any additional headwind that may be present at the time.
And most importantly, since power loss due to drag force is actually proportional to the wind speed cubed—a very sensitive exponential relation—the much faster surface at the top of the wheel is dissipating at least 8X more power than any equivalent slower surface on the deflector panel. Moreover, this magnified power loss on the exposed wheel increases rapidly with any additional external headwind present. For this reason alone, our minimally sized deflector panels become far more efficient in windy conditions, a non-obvious relation supporting our numerous patent allowances.
The wind shielding deflector panel is simply fixed directly to the vehicle frame, and is therefore moving forward at only the vehicle speed, dissipating much less power than equivalent uppermost wheel surfaces. Thus, it is only logical to shield the drag-sensitive top of the wheel using a slower-moving deflector panel in order to shift the magnified drag otherwise induced from the faster upper wheel surface onto the slower vehicle frame, thereby reducing the effective drag on the vehicle considerably, especially in headwinds.
As a result, our optimally sized deflector panels shielding only the uppermost wheel should always be used in order to minimize vehicle drag. Furthermore, since the lower wheel rolls easily over any bumps in the road (just push on a vehicle to demonstrate), it likewise rolls just as easily through any headwind, much more easily than any lower wheel deflector panel plowing through the wind at the vehicle speed. Thus, the lower wheel should ideally remain exposed to headwinds, a non-obvious relation not yet appreciated even in auto racing where airplane wind tunnel testing protocols applied to open-wheel vehicles have misled an entire industry for many decades.
And making the deflector panel much bigger also defeats the savings potential, since larger panels induce too much drag on the vehicle without providing any gains from reducing drag on the wheel. Our panels are optimally sized to shield just enough of the critical upper wheel surface to yield a substantial reduction in vehicle drag even under our worst case null wind conditions. And as discussed above, whenever headwinds are present, vehicle efficiency actually increases rapidly even further. So for vehicles operating frequently on the highway under windy conditions, fleets can expect even more savings, reducing payback time considerably.
Lately, many fleets have been utilizing much shorter trailer skirts disposed far forward on the trailer, largely in order to reduce invested costs over the more expensive full-length trailer skirts. However, if these semitrailers are operating in windy conditions, then the rear wheels are actually very exposed to headwinds, producing considerable vehicle drag and largely negating any savings gained under the null wind conditions that fleets often test these much shorter skirts.
Adding our deflector panels in combination with these shorter trailer skirts can yield an optimum configuration for windy conditions. And for LTL semi-trucks where trailer skirts are simply too expensive for a reasonable payback period, our deflector panels offer a low-cost alternative to save fuel.
Testing Protocols Further Explained:
Fleets typically road-test trailers only under near no wind conditions, since no wind conditions are at least somewhat repeatable from test-to-test. And no wind conditions happen to show that short trailer skirts can be somewhat effective, since the rear wheels are not so exposed to potential crosswinds.
But testing in the windy conditions under which many fleets actually operate is quite problematic, since windy conditions are very unrepeatable from test-to-test, and is therefore avoided in standard testing protocols. And since shielding the upper wheel is much more effective in windy headwind conditions than under null or no wind conditions, standard industry road testing protocols (including wind tunnel protocols) simply will not show just how effective our deflectors are under real world windy conditions.
Therefore, fleets should not rely solely on standard low-wind road tests of shorter trailer skirts in determining just how effective these skirts are in real world windy conditions, since the rear wheels being exposed to crosswinds become very high drag inducers on the vehicle, largely negating much of the benefit of these short skirts gained under null wind conditions. However, adding our deflector panels to these trailers already having shorter trailer skirts can then correct for this savings degradation by also shielding the upper wheels under windy conditions. In fact, this combination is likely the most efficient deployment of both technologies in windy conditions.
Furthermore, wind tunnel testing also will not show the magnified effect that wheel drag has on the vehicle, since the complex mechanics of the freely propelled vehicle on the road is negated by the wind tunnel model being instead fixed to the ground by attachment to a stinger. Rather than power dissipation being directly measured inside the wind tunnel, drag forces acting on the body of the vehicle are instead measured to only infer what effect measured vehicle body drag has on overall vehicle efficiency. Actual vehicle efficiency is then simply estimated from measured vehicle body drag by using a rough 'rule of thumb' estimate, as explained by test engineers at ARC. While this estimate can be useful for vehicles with covered wheels, it becomes quite inaccurate for vehicles with open wheels exposed to headwinds.
As a result of these testing limitations being largely inaccurate for measuring the effect of shielding only the upper wheel, Null Winds Technology invented a more accurate method for vehicle wind tunnel testing that instead has the vehicle being self-propelled and unrestrained on the rolling road inside the wind tunnel, just as it would be on the actual open road, in order to directly measure the power being dissipated in drag on the entire vehicle, including the wheels.
In this patented method, rather than relying on any estimated effect based on body drag forces on a restrained vehicle that is effectively attached to the ground via a force-sensing stinger, the total power being dissipated in drag including the otherwise unmeasured magnified drag loss on the wheels is measured directly through the power being delivered through the wheels by the rolling road. This power being delivered is then equivalent to total drag power being dissipated on the vehicle.
This new wind tunnel testing method can then capture the true effect of shielding the upper wheel, whereas standard wind tunnel protocols measuring only drag forces on the vehicle body will not. However, employing this patented method would require a retrofit of the rolling road controller, a modification wind tunnels have yet to invest in for increased measurement accuracy for testing open-wheeled vehicles.
We confirmed these standard protocol testing limitations while testing in the ARC wind tunnel in Indianapolis in 2021, where we also confirmed the enhanced crosswind gains produced by our Inner Wheel Skirt invention. We tested our Inner Wheel Skirts on both a semitruck model and on a pickup truck model using standard wind tunnel drag force sensing testing methodology. It showed dramatically enhanced gains in crosswind yaw angle of only four degrees. We expect those gains to increase even further in larger yaw angles often encountered under windy conditions, since rear wheel sets directly facing headwinds become major drag inducers on the vehicle.