Development of quality control system for leak-free fuel tanks
Nowadays, the usage of plastic fuel tanks dominates in the automotive industry over steel tanks as they offer numerous advantages such as lower weight, higher corrosion resistance, better crash performance and lower total system costs. Tank manufacturing from plastics and composites has been adapted to mass production to meet the ever growing demand. The management of quality control systems for the factory environment poses challenges in the absence of relevant experience in the development and use of in-situ non-destructive evaluation technologies. The problem currently faced by the automotive industry is that most techniques that meet accepted leak detection sensitivity requirements are manually intensive and operator dependent. Mechanised leak detection techniques with higher sensitivity do exist; however they are characterised by high investment and operational costs. Hence, their implementation is not economically feasible as the related costs outweigh their benefits for automotive QC purposes.
The LeakFree project is targeted at bringing to market a low cost leak detection system that is fast, accurate, traceable and automated for the mass production environment of the fuel tank production industry. The project should set itself up around the fuel tank test bath where the fuel tank is submerged into the water and listened to by the LeakFree system.
The system eliminates the disadvantages associated with the manual-intensive and operator dependent techniques currently employed by the industry, through the use of acoustic emission.
- Brunel University London
For more information, please visit the LeakFree website