Self-repositioning aerodynamic skirt

  • US 8,678,474 B1
  • Filed: 05/17/2013
  • Issued: 03/25/2014
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/29/2008
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
Patent Images

1. An aerodynamic skirt assembly comprising:

  • a pair of skirt panels each adapted to be mounted to respective longitudinal sides of a trailer, each skirt panel including a front portion and a rear portion, the front portion being adapted to be mounted toward a forward portion of the trailer and the rear portion being adapted to be mounted toward a rear portion of the trailer in an original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration adapted to reduce air drag about the trailer when the trailer is in movement, and each skirt panel being adapted to independently move away from the original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration as a consequence of an external force caused by a physical contact between the skirt panel and an object not associated with the aerodynamic skirt assembly and the trailer to a visibly altered position detrimental to the air drag reduction obtained when the skirt panel is in the original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration, and to self-recover the original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration when the skirt panel is not in physical contact anymore with the object, for regaining the air drag reduction obtained when the skirt panel is in the original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration, anda plurality of struts associated with each skirt panel and adapted to secure the skirt panel to the trailer, each strut comprising a skirt connecting portion, adapted to be secured to the skirt panel, and a trailer connecting portion, adapted to be secured to the trailer, each strut being flexible to accommodate relative movements between the skirt connecting portion and the trailer connecting portion thereof, each strut being adapted to sustain a substantial reversible elastic deformation from an original strut configuration when a force is applied thereon by the skirt panel moving away from the original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration as a result of an external force, and to self-recover the original strut configuration when the skirt panel is not sustaining the external force anymore, each strut being constructed with a material allowing a substantial elastic deformation thereof without recording substantial plastic deformation thereof, which allows the strut to move away from the original strut configuration and support the skirt panel away from the skirt panel aerodynamic configuration in the visibly altered position detrimental to the air drag reduction obtained when the skirt panel is in the original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration, and to self-recover the original strut configuration when the skirt panel is not sustaining the external force anymore, for recovering the air drag reduction obtained when the skirt panel is in the original skirt panel aerodynamic configuration.

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