The Purdue EcoMakers Fuel System

This blog was submitted by the Purdue EcoCAR 2 team.

EcoMakers team member Kevin at fabrication center

EcoMakers team member Kevin at fabrication center

We are currently working on the fuel system in our Chevrolet Malibu. We need to make a custom fuel tank that meets all the requirements of the competition, such as pressure evaluations, leak testing and crash scenarios. To ensure that we meet all of these requirements we create models of the fuel tank using CAD software and performing Finite Element Analysis evaluations on the model.  After all of this is done we can start to build our tank. When building the tank it is important for us to make sure the materials we are using are compatible with our fuel, which is B20 biodiesel.

A diagram of the EcoMakers' Fuel System

A diagram of the EcoMakers’ Fuel System

In order to build the tank, our team lead Adam and another team member Kevin created an intricate plan, which they took to Research Machining Services on Purdue’s campus. There, they started turning their design into a physical tank with the help of a fabricator. This was quite the experience for Adam and Kevin because they got to actually fabricate and build their own design alongside a trained professional fabricator who was giving them advice and tips throughout the entire process. In doing this, Adam and Kevin received crucial information concerning how to better design things in the future, as well as what can go wrong in designing certain objects. This is critical information because it will influence, for the better, how we as a team design and build things. It is scenarios such as this that make EcoCAR 2 an exceptional and rare experience. The competition involves students in the full spectrum of automotive engineering, including design, building and testing. This combined experience allows the team to accomplish the extremely difficult engineering task that is creating a modern hybrid vehicle.