Racing Fuel Cell How Much Does A Racer Value Their Life?
The Core Components of a Fuel Cell
Fuel Cells for racing were developed in the 1960s for racing cars that, until their advent, had no or very limited protection in a crash from a fuel fed fire. Since Fuel Cells were introduced a driver’s chance of survival, in a crash, have been greatly increased. A Racing Safety Fuel Cell consists of four main elements that in total give the critical protection necessary in today’s highly competitive racing.
- The Cell starts with a bladder (bag tank) which is the core and fundamental part of the system. Bladders are typically flexible, extremely strong, fuel containers that prevent fuel spillage in the event of an accident or collision. Made from very strong high tensile elastomeric components and engineered to withstand the fuel’s chemical attack, the bladder provides the first line of defence in a crash.
- Foam Baffling inside the bladder provides several key functions. While displacing a minimal amount of fuel, the foam prevents sloshing and excessive movement of the fuel. Reducing sloshing keeps the fuel de-aerated which improves fuel delivery and improves delivery of fuel to the pickup. A secondary benefit of the foam is its ability to prevent flash back explosions. The foam also helps the bladder retain its shape, important with a flexible bladder.
- The Fill Plate provides the opening to fill the Cell. It usually contains the fittings for the vent, outlet and return. This important component provides no-spill rollover protection while being engineered to integrate with the bladder for the maximum strength and security.
- The final component of the racing fuel cell is the external container and these are often made from aluminium, steel, carbon fibre, fibreglass or even a cavity in the body structure. This external container protects the bladder and provides a way to mount the Fuel Cell in the car.
Depending on the racing application, there are many additional parts e.g. collectors, sumps, reserve tanks, surge tanks, baffles, pumps, dry-breaks, quick fill valves, level senders, filters etc that may be added to tailor a system to your particular need.
Why use a Racing Fuel Cell?
Using a fuel cell when racing is no less important than using a helmet or wearing a seat belt. The Fuel Cell is an essential part of both improving performance and keeping you safe during competition. In the event of a shunt or accident, the fuel cell is designed to retain all the fuel even if it’s deformed, rolled over, or directly impacted.
So from a consumer perspective there appear to be two options
- Use a diy or regular fuel tank in your racing vehicle
- Invest in a racing fuel cell that will hopefully provide significantly greater chance of helping you survive in the event of you having a crash or impact near your fuel tank
So why do so few drivers who aren’t forced to through racing regulations have a fuel cell. The price of the units could be one reason but one must question how much a driver values their safety. Perhaps marketing has its place in educating and informing drivers about the importance of a racing fuel cell just as it did with seat belts etc.
For more information on racing fuel cell click here. For information on marketing approaches click here