First proper study of streamlining
Looking for 1910-ish electrical appliances for my graphics projects, I found a volume of Engineering Reports by K-State
from the '20s. The book gave me the appliance I wanted, and also included a pioneering piece of aerodynamics research. [p 440 in PDF]
In 1927 the idea of streamlining was just starting to dawn on automakers. Nobody had even run wind tunnel tests on real full-size cars. K-State decided to break new wind.
They Built A Ram Shackle Wind Tunnel,
built and calibrated their own pressure and velocity instruments, and tested 22 vehicles. None of the vehicles were new; most likely they belonged to faculty and students.
The results were counterintuitive.
One custom-built "racer"
beat everyone else. The "racer" doesn't look streamlined; it's just LOW.
Note the sloped front and V-shaped windshield on the air-cooled Franklin.
Should have helped? Didn't.
Touring cars were uniformly awful:
Not counting the custom "racer", Fords came out on top among cars.
They tested three trucks.
This IH stake truck looks "hollow" enough that it should let air through:
The slipperiest vehicle of all, again excluding the racer, was a T roadster converted into a pickup.
Pretty much the standard Okie farm truck. When Grandpa was struggling to hold one of these machines together long enough to get his chickens to market, I'll bet he was comforted by the thought that his truck was aerodynamically superior to Buicks.
Conclusion: Shape didn't matter AT ALL. Intuition was no help. Vertical dimension was an important variable, but most of the difference came from fine details that couldn't be measured neatly.
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Sidenote: I'm trying to identify the backgrounds. Some pics show cornfields, one shows a building that looks like a low-class hotel. None look familiar to me. All have standard Manhattan City Curbs, so they're not out in the country. Guess: Southeast part of town around Pott and Juliette? Or east side around 2nd and Moro? Both locations have been completely redone since 1970, so Googlestreet won't help. 2nd no longer exists, and Pottawatomie has moved.
Labels: Experiential education, Metrology