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Do dimples make everything more aerodynamic?

Posted May 12 2009 4:33pm

Dimpled flex

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.

Louis_Garneau_Superleggera-798-75 They concluded:

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."

You can read the rest of the story HERE.

But this test can' t help but make us wonder if other dimpled product offer the same questionable benefits like disk Time Trial wheels, and the new crop or aerodynamic helmets with a dimpled surface?

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