1992-02-01

Permeation of Gasoline-Alcohol Fuel Blends Through High-Density Polyethylene Fuel Tanks with Different Barrier Technologies 920164

The automobile industry has been using high-density polyethylene (HDPE) as a material to fabricate fuel tanks. Because untreated HDPE is permeable to the primary constituents of gasoline, these fuel tanks are now being produced with various barrier technologies that significantly reduce this permeation rate. Four currently available barrier technologies are fluorination, sulfonation, coextrusion, and the laminar barrier technology. These technologies have successfully proven to decrease the permeation rate of pure gasoline. However, it is suspected that their effectiveness may be reduced when alcohols are introduced into the fuel blend.
In this work, we determine the permeation rates of gasoline-alcohol fuel blends through HDPE by conducting tests on 22-gallon HDPE fuel tanks and on small HDPE bottles fabricated with and without these barrier technologies. The goal of this study is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of these four barrier technologies. The results of this work are presented along with a series of correlations that allow one to calculate the permeation rate of gasoline-alcohol fuel blends through any HDPE fuel tank as a function of tank geometry, fuel composition, type of barrier technology, and temperature.

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