All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Vladimir V Vantsevich

Advisory Committee Members

David Boger

Gemunu S Happawana

Roy P Koomullil

Thomas R Way

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


Severe weather conditions have steadily increased over the last two decades. Therefore, the safety of the rescue and repair team is of paramount importance while they attend to emergencies due to these severe weather conditions. Utility trucks are the first responders in these extreme climate and weather situations for cutting trees to restore traffic, recovering life beings from destroyed properties, repairing electric posts, and restoring power. Such trucks with morphing capabilities of the boom equipment can increase the possibility of road accidents in several ways and create hazardous situations on the roads and off-road conditions while moving and performing critical tasks. A stable utility truck will be beneficial in this kind of situation, making the utility truck remain on the ground without skidding, rollover, or even driving on the road to attend to such emergencies. In those directions, initially, the present study aims to simulate the external flow field around a ground vehicle using a computational method. Firstly, the aerodynamics of a generic bluff body and the addition of the morphing device is studied computationally and experimentally to demonstrate the validation of the developed computational methods. The experimental study was conducted under severe weather conditions at the Wall of Wind Experimental Facility (WOW EF). Results are compared in an attempt to validate the computational model for ground vehicle aerodynamics. Then, the external iv aerodynamics of a utility truck with the boom equipment and with the morphing structures are simulated under hazardous weather conditions using the validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods. Afterward, a novel approach, a method, and mathematical models were developed to investigate the morphing dynamics of a multi-body combination of the boom equipment, morphing structures, and the utility truck. Finally, a novel comprehensive study of the dynamic and aerodynamic morphing system (DA-MS), which utilizes active aerodynamics and truck dynamics to manage the moment of inertia, tire-road forces, and the aerodynamic multi-phase forces, was developed to enhance the stability and safety of the truck under hazardous critical weather conditions. This study offers a novel solution for improving the safety and stability of an autonomous utility truck in extreme weather conditions.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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