A fuel cell is a type of gas tank which is typically used in racing and high performance vehicles. Fuel cells typically have a flexible puncture resistant lining, which minimizes the potential for fuel leaks if the vehicle gets in a collision. This puncture resistant lining is the main reason why a fuel cell is crucial in a race car that uses more flammable and dangerous fuel than the average vehicle. Fuel cells are required in almost every racing league, because of its superior safety features.
Fuel cells are filled with an open cell foam core which prevents an explosion of vapor in the empty portion of the tank. The open cell foam core also minimizes sloshing of the fuel in the cell, which can cause inadequate amounts of fuel to be delivered to the motor, while it is in operation. Fuel cells are available in many shapes and sizes, ranging from 1 gallon to 30 gallons. Getting the proper size cell which fits the application of the vehicle also helps prevent sloshing of the fuel. For example, a drag car which only runs for a few minutes will need a much smaller tank, than a circle track race car which needs to run for longer periods of time. Getting the smallest possible fuel cell will also reduce weight, which will increase performance.
The opening where fuel is poured into the cell is called the fill plate. This plate typically contains the fittings for the vent, outlet and return. The fill plate is built to withstand a rollover, and is designed to fit perfectly with the bladder, inside the fuel cell,in order to provide maximum strength and security.
The main part of the fuel cell is the container which protects the bladder, an is located inside the container. Most containers are made out of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, or carbon fibers which are all extremely strong to withstand a harsh crash. A fuel cell is fitted inside the vehicle or in the trunk which helps protect it in the event of an impact. The fuel cell container is built around the bladder to ensure a perfect fit which allows for maximum fuel capacity.
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