Mannaru, V., Makhe, S., Stephens, L., Kumar, D. et al., "Characterization and Modeling Swelling Behavior of Plastics Exposed to Fuel," SAE Technical Paper 2014-01-2365, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-2365.
Vapor management system is critical to manage fuel tank capacity, evaporative emissions and pressure control for hybrid applications. Due to stringent emission norms and other regulations there has been lot of advancements in design and application of vapor control valves that are used in automotive fuel tanks. Continuous exposure of these valves to fuel vapor or fuel in some instances led to swelling of assemblies and poses serious threat to product functionality and maintaining required tolerances.Swelling of plastics in fuel is ideally a case of multi physics, which involves modeling of complex mass transfer phenomena. In this study a simple thermal analogous approach has been used to model swelling behavior by characterizing the basic plastic-fuel soaking through coefficient of hygroscopic swelling. Extensive testing has been performed with multiple plastic-fuel combinations with different shapes at different temperatures. Periodic measurements helped to extract coefficients in different directions, which have been used to predict swelling induced strains and stresses in the specimens through finite element analysis. This predictive methodology will be highly beneficial to reduce the design cycle time and also improve upon design space optimization.