The Ageing of Fuel Lines Based on Polyamide-12
Sammanfattning: Today, the use of bio-fuels for cars is increasing. There is a wide range of biofuelsavailable world wide, in Sweden ethanol containing fuels are favoured.For car manufacturers there is a need to be able to predict short and long termproperties of fuel lines subjected to ethanol containing fuels to ensure properlong term behaviour. The presented method for ageing in “close to real”environment involved circulating fuel inside the tubes and air on the outside attwo temperatures, 50°C and 110°C. The exposure time was extensive in the50°C case, almost 3 years, and the ageing at 110°C was conducted for 100days. Polyamide-12 was chosen as pipe material, which is also used in realparts. Tensile testing was used to assess the mechanical changes caused byageing. Long ageing times and high ethanol levels resulted in low extensibility.In the case of fuel with 25 vol.% ethanol at 110°C (100 days) the samplesshowed no macroscopic yielding. Even at 50°C a time induced loss ofextensibility was observed (80 vol.% ethanol). However, at ethanol levels of 0and 22 vol.% the extensibility was not reduced even after the 3 years of ageing.The changes at short times were interpreted as being due to loss of plasticizer.The changes at long ageing times were thoroughly investigated. The change incrystallinity, pipe swelling, leaching and the decrease in extensibility were allgreatest in the pipes subjected to ethanol. As expected, the molar massdecreased as the ethanol level increased and a good correlation between molarmass and extensibility was observed. A method for determining the fuelpermeation properties was developed. Fuel lines were subjected to circulatingfuels in the same manner as in the ageing tests and the surrounding air wasanalysed for fuel components with a flame ionisation detector. Higher level ofethanol increased the individual fuel component fluxes as well as the total fluxand also the temperature effect on the flux was significant. Finally it should bementioned, that ethanol was not always an unwanted ingredient; adding a smallamount of ethanol to the ethanol-free fuel prevented premature pipe failure at110°C.
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