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Performance of Vehicle Fuel System Elastomers and Plastics with Test Fuels Representing Gasoline Blended with 10% Ethanol (E10) and 16% Isobutanol (iBu16)

Journal Article
04-13-02-0008
ISSN: 1946-3952, e-ISSN: 1946-3960
Published April 24, 2020 by SAE International in United States
Performance of Vehicle Fuel System Elastomers and Plastics with Test Fuels Representing Gasoline Blended with 10% Ethanol (E10) and 16% Isobutanol (iBu16)
Sector:
Citation: Kass, M., Janke, C., Connatser, R., Lewis, S. et al., "Performance of Vehicle Fuel System Elastomers and Plastics with Test Fuels Representing Gasoline Blended with 10% Ethanol (E10) and 16% Isobutanol (iBu16)," SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 13(2):2020, https://doi.org/10.4271/04-13-02-0008.
Language: English

Abstract:

The compatibilities of fuel system elastomers and plastics were evaluated for test fuels containing 16 vol.% isobutanol (iBu16) and 10 vol.% ethanol (E10). Elastomers included two fluorocarbons, four acrylonitrile butadiene rubbers (NBRs), and one type of fluorosilicone, neoprene, and epichlorohydrin/ethylene oxide. Plastic materials included four nylon grades, three polyamides, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyoxymethylene (POM), flexible polyvinylchloride (PVC), polyetherimide (PEI), polyetheretherketone (PEEK), and a phenol formaldehyde reinforced with glass fiber (GFPF). For each polymer material, the volume, mass, and hardness were measured before and after drying. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) measurements were also performed on the dried specimens.
For the elastomer materials the measured properties were similar for both fuels. The fluorocarbons and fluorosilicone swelled the least (~20%), while more moderate (20-45%) expansion occurred for the two NBR hose grades and (ECO). HNBR, neoprene, and silicone exhibited high swelling and softening, which likely precludes their use in many fuel systems. For the plastic materials, the observed swell was low; Nylon 11 swelled around 15%, but otherwise, their measured swell was <10%. Many of the plastics also showed sensitivity to alcohol type, as the E10 test fuel often imparted appreciably higher swell than iBu16. In general, the plastic materials showed good compatibility with the iBu16 and E10 test fuels. The sole exception was the PVC material, which was structurally degraded from exposure to either fuel type. Compositional analysis showed high fuel retention in Nylon 12 and PVC. PVC also experienced a significant reduction in plasticizer compounds following exposure, which resulted in embrittlement and an increase in the glass-to-rubber transition temperature.