Has NASA ever tested the product called Airtab® manufactured by Aeroserve Technology?
NASA tested the basic shape that is used by Airtab®. They found them to be
the lowest drag vortex generator they had seen. There are several technical
papers written on vortex generators and other drag reducing devices, (NASA Recognition Paper) and the Airtab® shape was amongst those tested. This is not to imply that NASA endorses Airtabs™ - they never endorse commercial products. NASA is using them in the Langley Wind Tunnel to improve the aerodynamics on standards and walls.
See: Picture of Helicopter in the Langley Wind Tunnel
What material is used to make Airtabs™
Airtabs™ are made with Centrex 810® plastic, the same material used for out door satellite receivers and lawn furniture.
For material specifications click here.
Will Airtabs™ endure extreme temperatures?
Thousands of Airtabs™ have now been in service for several years in Australia, South Africa, Europe and in North America from Mexico to Alaska There have been no reported temperature extreme related material failure issues in our history as Centrex has additional UV protection and is designed to withstand temperature extremes. However, we would not recommend hitting one with a hammer at minus 40 degrees.
Does the Airtab® tape have any petroleum in it?
No the tape is an acrylic base.
What colour is an Airtab®?
White and Black are the basic colours, although for large orders of 25,000 Airtabs™ or more we can colour match in the injection molding.
Can they be painted?
Click here for painting instructions.
I am going to put Airtabs™ on my tractor and trailer after I have it painted. How long should I wait before I may attach the Airtabs™?
I would check with the painter and read the paint specification. Once the
painter or manufacturer says the paint is cured you can apply them.
I haul a flat bed trailer. Will Airtabs™ help me?
Please click on this link for the answer.
Do the Airtabs™ have to be painted prior to being fitted?
We recommend painting Airtabs™ prior to installation in a clean "work bench" environment. However, if you are repainting your vehicle, they may be installed prior to painting for a superior color match.
Click here for painting instructions.
How many do I need?
Measure the sides and the roof of the Vehicle at the back. They are placed 3 per running foot (4" inches on center) spaced as shown in the Install Guide.
How is an Airtab® attached to the truck and trailer?
Double sided adhesive tape for most applications and for those vehicles with slightly uneven sides where tape would not provide a good bond, a polyurethane glue.The tape is Acrylic and has no petroleum products.
What are the ideal installation conditions?
Airtabs™ should be installed with the surface temperature of the vehicle +40°F (+5 °C) or warmer. All surfaces must be dry, clean of all contaminants and cleaning solvents. Simply put, the cleaner, dryer and warmer the better.
What tools are required to fit a truck and trailer?
See Install Guide
- Sufficient Airtabs™, spacing templates, tape measure and masking tape.
- Automotive soap & water, degreaser (if necessary), rubbing alcohol, Varsol or any paint thinner. Do not use Windex and other glass cleaners.
- Supply of clean shop rags or equivalent paper product.
- Scaffolding or secure work platform (preferred) or ladder.
How long does it take to fit a truck and regular trailer?
You can install the Airtabs™ yourself. If its your first install expect to spend an hour or so, reading instructions and getting familiar with the placement. For subsequent installs we estimate about 20-30 minutes for a typical trailer, and same for a tractor.
Can Airtabs™ be place farther apart than recommended? - I have some unequally spaced ribs on my trailer.
Airtabs™ can be spaced farther apart then the recommended 4 inches on center to avoid ribs, rivets, running lights, grab bars, back up lights etc. They should not be placed closer together because the adjacent vortices will interfere with each other and reduce performance. As much as we'd like to sell more, more in this case is not better, and 'shoulder to shoulder' mounting is counterproductive.
Will Airtabs™ reduce drag with a tractor-trailer gap less than 18 inches?
Airtabs™ are very effective in cross wind conditions as they help minimize the flow of air across the tractor-trailer gap to the "downwind" side of the trailer. This "crossflow" adds drag because it is turbulent and "detached" from the downwind side of the trailer. Cross winds are a constant factor as winds are rarely "right on the nose" for extended periods. Although the drag from a tractor - trailer gap less than 18 inches is minimal, we recommend the application of Airtabs™ to combat crosswind induced turbulence and drag at the tractor-trailer gap.
How close to the back of the tractor or trailer do you place Airtabs™?
For best performance, Airtabs™ should be placed as close to the trailing edges of the vehicle as possible. They can be mounted further forward than this, but the further forward they are mounted (within reason) the more their performance is reduced. We recommend placement so that the wide end of the Airtab® is no more than 14 inches from the trailing edge of the vehicle.
How far apart should Airtabs™ be mounted?
For maximum performance, Airtabs™ should be mounted 4 inches on center. They should not be mounted any closer than 4 inches as their vortices begin to interfere with each other. Spacing them further apart to avoid obstacles is acceptable but 4 inches is the design optimum.
Will Airtabs™ stick to the EPDM (rubber) roofs on RVs?
For all EPDM or equivalent RV roof applications, we recommend that you contact your RV supplier or manufacturer for their recommendations for the acrylic based adhesive used on Airtab®.
Would you recommend putting Airtabs™ on the top of the Air-conditioning units on top of my RV?
Yes, these units stick up into the air flow and cause drag, the Airtabs™ placed three per foor on the top and sides will help reduce this drag.
Can I put Airtabs™ on the hood of my vehicle and if I can where would be the best location?
Do Airtabs™ work on the hoods of vehicles as bug deflectors? How is the best location determined?
We have reports of users experimenting with Airtabs™ on the hoods of their vehicles and they make the following claims:
- Fewer bug "hits"
- Less airflow noise or wind beating when windows open
- Cleaner side mirrors
Airtabs™ should be mounted across the hood in a straight line or a shallow "V" formation. Remember that Airtabs™ are best suited on flat surfaces. To determine the best location, find an observer, wet the hood with water and accelerate to highway speed. The observer makes note of the line where the water clearly stops migrating towards the windscreen. The Airtabs™ should be mounted just forward of this line.
How do you locate the proper Airtab placement on the front hood of your vehicle?
Method one. By using 6 inch tufts of yarn taped to the hood. Tape the strings 8 inches apart across the hood and in rows 8 inches apart. Stagger the rows so that the tufts do not interfere with each other. If a row of...
Can I use Airtabs on Vinyl "curtain sided" trailers?
The acrylic tape used to attach Airtabs is not suitable for placement on vinyl. The elastisizer chemicals used to make the covers pliable leach into the Airtab tape over several months and will cause chemical decomposition and tape failure. In addition, the loss of these elastisizer chemicals cause the tarps to become brittle and shorten their life spans.
I have a trailer with a translucent fiberglas roof. Are there special instructions for this application?
Yes. Order "Kemlite" Airtabs for this roof. These Airtabs have a thicker foam tape that creates a superior bond with the rougher fiberglas surfaces.