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Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Department of Integrated Science and Technology
Over recent years, the awareness of climate change has become more prevalent worldwide and one major contributor to global warming has been the use of transportation. Vehicles contribute to global warming by releasing petroleum based emissions such as significant amounts of carbon dioxide and numerous other harmful environmental pollutants. SUVs contribute to the emissions problem more so than sedans, since they have lower gas mileage and need more gasoline regularly. The main functionality of sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, includes hauling or off-roading and fuel efficiency is not always the focus in the design process. However, aerodynamic enhancements could improve fuel efficiency with minor adjustments through the addition of features such as fairings attached to the back of the SUV, underside air dams, wheel covers, and/ or full underside coverage of the SUV. This project aims to test various aerodynamic features on a 2006 Range Rover Sport, in order to identify which additions will reduce drag the most and result in improved fuel efficiency. The testing process utilizes the wind tunnel located in the Advanced Thermal-Fluids Laboratory at James Madison University (JMU). The drag coefficient of the model SUV, paired with the addition of various features, provided evidence of drag reduction. Final results show that the addition of all air dams or just front and side air dams prove to have the most significant reduction in drag. With about 19% drag reduction, fuel efficiency is improved, therefore, consumers can benefit in the long run by having a more fuel-efficient vehicle, without sacrificing the spacious design of an SUV and helping reduce their vehicle’s emissions.
Katsoulos, Christiana L., "An experimental study on drag reduction of aftermarket additions on an SUV" (2017). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 372.