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The Improvements of Snow Plowing Safety and Efficiency: Computational Modeling and Experimental Verification
AdvisorEvrensel, Cahit A.
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The efficiency of high-speed snowplowing is affected by the conditions of snow and ice. High density wet snow that may also include dust particles can overflow the top of the plow blade resulting in snow accumulation on truck windshields and front grille. This can reduce snowplow operator's visibility and can cause engine overheating due to blocked airflow to the radiator. Low density snow results in reduced visibility of the truck by the motoring public due to snow cloud generated and snow accumulation on the rear warning lights. Research was carried out to develop and design different applications to solve these problems of snowplow trucks using FLUENT 6.3.26 and ANSYS 12.1 Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Software. Both single phase (air) and two phase (air and snow) utilizing Discrete Phase Modeling (DPM) was studied. DPM allowed prediction of snow particle trajectories after they bounce back from plow moldboard and truck surfaces (windshield, hood etc.). Selected applications were fabricated, implemented and field tested. Predictions of CFD model were compared with full scale field tests and wind tunnel tests of 1/36th scaled model. Two applications were selected for field testing. Rear side wind deflector and airfoil were used to eliminate/ reduce snow accumulation on rear warning lights to improve visibility of the truck by motoring public. Over plow deflector was mounted on the moldboard to redirect the snow over following the moldboard toward the underbody of the truck to improve truck driver's visibility and to reduce snow reaching the front grille to reduce engine overheating potential. These applications were implemented on NDOT snow plow trucks operating Mt. Rose, Washoe County, NV and tested during 2010-2011 snow season. Test results were promising. The over plow deflector design was very highly rated by the plow operators and supervisors.