A gas tank is a safe container that is designed to hold flammable material. The gas tank also holds the fuel pump on most vehicles with a fuel injection system. Fuel tanks are available in a range of sizes and shapes, which are chosen depending on the application of the vehicle. The architecture of the tank depends on the type of vehicle, type of fuel used, nozzle models, and the tanks region.
Gas tanks are made out of plastic or metal. The plastic fuel tanks are typically made with a high density polyethylene. Plastic tanks have seen increased use over the past few years because they obtain very low emissions of fuel. The plastic material is molded which makes creating a uniquely shaped tank a lot easier. Metal gas tanks are usually made from steel or aluminum, which can be easily stamped out into sheets. Metal tanks are also good at limiting fuel emissions, but they can rust overtime when subjected to harsh conditions.
Gas tanks can sense how much fuel is in the tank using a sending unit, which consists of a float, metal rod, and a resistor. As the float moves up and down in the gas tank, the resistance will either increase or decrease. The resister then sends an electrical signal up to the dashboard of the vehicle where the fuel level is displayed.
Some vehicles also have a reserve gas tank, which is typcially about 15% the capacity of the primary tank. Reserve tanks are most common in older vehicles, motorcycles, and vehicles designed for long distance travel. Older vehicles are more prone to having a reserve tank, because they most likely don’t have a fuel gauge which will tell the user when to refill. Allot of 4x4 vehicles are fitted with a reserve tank which can help them venture further off the beaten path without the need to refill.
The location of the gas tank has been a primary concern over the years. The goal is to keep the tank away from a vehicles crumple zone. The most common placement for the gas tank on vehicles is in front or behind, the rear axle where it can be easily strapped down. Placement of the tank in a crumple zone can cause deadly fires and explosions, if the vehicle was to get in a collision.
Vehicles which are designed for hazardous driving such as race cars, may use a fuel cell, instead of a gas tank. A fuel cell is a type of gas tank that has a flexible inner lining, to minimize the potential for leaks in the event of a puncture. Fuel cells also have open-cell foam which helps prevent sloshing of fuel and the explosion of fuel vapors.
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