Advanced modeling of liquid movements in automotive fuel tanks

Francesco Fortunato, Luigi Di Matteo, Assunta Andreozzi

Fiat Group Automobiles


A complex activity is taking place to enhance design and validation of automotive fuel tanks. It includes track tests, a new bench tests and fluid-dynamic simulations. The target is to prevent issues with vapor pressure build up and fuel spill to vapor canister, operating as early as possible in the design process. CFD simulations have been used to assess the accuracy of bench tests compared to road tests and the work goes on to perform predictive analysis.
A new test bench has been developed, based on FIAT specification and experience, that allows to simulate vehicle accelerations using a combination of tank motion and tilt on all axes. Numerical tests have been performed which confirms the validity of the test approach. Accelerometric measurements have confirmed the substantial equivalence.
Additional numerical analyses have been performed to explore fluid dynamic inside the tank, targeted to evolve the CFD approach into a design validation and optimization tool.