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Experimental Study of Fuel Tank Filling

Authors: Maurizio Mastroianni, Lou Savoni, Paul Henshaw, Gary W. Rankin


The refueling of a transparent rectangular fuel tank fitted with a standard filler pipe and roll-over valve was experimentally studied. A fuel-conditioning cart, capable of handling fuels of different Reid vapor pressure at a constant temperature, was used to dispense fuel at the desired rate. The experimental protocol included transient recording of the tank and filler tube pressures while video recording the flow patterns in the filler tube and tank during the refueling process. This information was used to determine the effect of changes in the vent tube diameter, fuel-dispense flow rate and fuel Reid vapor pressure on the pressure-time characteristics and the occurrence of premature fuel filling shut-off and fuel spill-back. Pressure-time curves for the case of normal shut-off demonstrated the classic, three-phase characteristic noted in the literature. The variation of the maximum values of tank dome and filler tube pressures are analyzed in relation to the occurrence of premature shut-off.

Keywords: experimental study, fuel tank filling, premature shutoff, spill-back

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