• Feb 15, 2009
Say you've got a company making plastic vehicle wraps for advertising. One day, you drive your graphic'd-up car to the golf course, and after losing three balls trying to drive across a water hazard, you get to pondering the golf ball itself. Those distinctive dimples on the surface of a golf ball reduce aerodynamic drag, allowing your Titleist to sail over the fairway. What if you wrapped a car in a similar dimpled layer? Thus was born FastSkinz, a new venture of SkinzWraps. Instead of turning vehicles into garish mobile billboards for radio stations, FastSkinz applies a dimpled covering that is supposed to "trip" the boundary layer, changing airflow around the vehicle from laminar to turbulent, reducing wake turbulence, just like those dimples on a golf ball, or the fancy new Olympic swimsuits that mimic shark skin.

Call us skeptical, but what works for a round ball flying through the air might not have equal success when applied to an automobile. Not being aerodynamicists, we'll wait for independent test results to either verify or debunk the FastSkinz claims of an 18-to-20-percent fuel economy improvement. In the past, such large gains have been merely fantastical PR noise, and FastSkinz's own documentation is buried in acronyms and tends toward the obfuscatory; basically purporting that a vehicle wrap will substitute for reduced frontal area and a low coefficient of drag. There are also some equally uninformative videos, none offering the sustaining manna of clear understanding. Automotive airflow techniques are at the highest level of practice in racing, and you don't see mottled F1 cars. What those racing cars do sport, however, are other techniques of controlling and manipulating airflow, which are actually effective.

[Source: FastSkinz via MaxGladwell]


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  • 42 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the dimples are supposed to act as vortex generators. The purpose of a vortex generator is to create a small amount of turbulence so that the airflow stays attached to a surface rather than lifting off of it which would cause more turbulence and therefore drag. If you look at the Lancer Evo MRs, they have small shark fins on the top of the rear window. These vortex generators keep the air stuck to the rear window as it slopes downward to reduce negative pressure on the back of the car and therefore reduce drag.

      All that being said, the dimples could possibly be effective if they're on the back of the car to keep the air stuck to the profile. However, just about any car has had aero testing to ensure that this separation doesn't occur, so the dimples would only improve a poorly designed car (or SUV??)
      • 5 Years Ago
      A thread about SkinzWraps came up on EcoModder a couple weeks ago. A Scion dealership claimed to be working with the company testing 2nd gen xBs. The thread is here. http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/turn-your-car-into-golf-ball-fastskinz-wrap-6807.html The dealer "TheScionGuys" claimed they had seen significant improvement in gas mileage, but they refused to post mpg numbers to backup their claims. There were many calls from the community for evidence but "TheScionGuys" eventually stopped posting. Everyone took this to mean it was a scam. One person got a quote for a 2008 CRV of $3400.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I worked with several race teams that were trying to develope the same type of covering. I never saw any wind tunnel data but from what we researched the decrease in drag was going to be around 10-12%. So will 10-12% reduction in drag equate to 25% increased fuel economy. Airliners have been using this technology for years and it has saved them a lot in fuel costs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My Ranger has hail damage. I have not noticed any increase in mileage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you believe this, you will believe the brake regeneration system in a hybrid will turn it into a perpetual motion machine. If they had said a 5% improvement, I would have thought maybe but I doubt it. 18-20%, they are dreaming.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lol I don't think it works but i like the way the paint looks with this skin.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is this like those HKS / TRD / GReddy decals that add horsepower but instead add fuel economy?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, I'm not sure this would work too well on the front or have any use on the back
        • 5 Years Ago
        The dimples will be filled with dead bugs on the front ;-) thereby losing the airflow!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The reason this method works on a golf ball is due to solely to the rotation as it flies through the air. I'm assuming that since your car does not rotate...
        • 5 Years Ago
        In order for you to see a 25% increase in fuel efficiency as a result from improved aerodynamics, you would have to increase aerodynamic efficiency by 50%.

        The claim is BS.
        • 5 Years Ago
        everything i know about reducing the the aerodynamic drag for cars involves disrupting the boundary layer as little as possible until a clean break at the back, this product sounds like it is accomplishing the opposite
        • 5 Years Ago
        It will rotate with this wrap... right into a pole.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "FastSkinz applies a dimpled covering that is supposed to "trip" the boundary layer, changing airflow around the vehicle from laminar to turbulent"

        uhm... what they forget to mention is that laminar = good and turbulent = bad for air resistance

        do you honestly think nasa would not have figured this out already?


      Bernard Hernandez
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think this is a very well explained example keep up the hard work and try to figure out more about aerodynamics and see if there`s a better way to make automobiles have less drag so they will be more fuel efficient in the future i want to live to see a hundred miles per gallon
      • 5 Years Ago
      This works just as well as the "Ram Implosion Wing" that supposedly doubles your mileage through the magical properties of a vortex. Think about this for a second folks: if this skin or the wing I mentioned increased MPG by the reduction of drag and a "vortex push", then why the hell haven't I seen a single airplane with one of these things on it?
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