If you are a golfer you probably know that the dimples on a golf ball make it fly further and straighter.
The reason for this is that the dimples break-up the airflow around the ball.
"The dimples transition the
flow from a smooth laminar state to chaotic turbulent state. The
turbulent mixing increases the momentum of the air at the surface of
the ball, allowing it to stay attached longer." saysSteve Ogg, vice president of golf ball research and development for Callaway.
So the editors at Popular Mechanics could not help but wonder if the same dimples would make a car more aerodynamic and thus more fuel efficient.
They covered two identical cars with a new product called Fastskinz and test drove them around a predetermined mileage loop.
The two Ford Flex cars were identical in almost every way except that one was cover in dimples while the other one was stock.
What they discovered was that by a slight margin the non-dimpled car actually got better gas mileage.
"Essentially, in our test, we
found no real fuel-economy improvement from the Fastskinz MPG-Plus
wrap. And if you trust Ford' s MPG displays, the Fastskinz Flex actually
delivered slightly worse fuel economy on our loop. So two identical
vehicles, on an identical route at identical speeds, with the same
drivers, on the same day, returned nearly the same fuel economy. Where
did MPG-Plus go wrong?
For one thing, wrapping a full vehicle is overkill."