A hybrid numerical study of automotive fuel tank filling.

Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Rankin, Gary M.,


Engineering, Mechanical.




Premature shut-off (PSO) of the fuel dispenser nozzle during automotive fuel tank refuelling is considered to be a nuisance. PSO occurs when the nozzle stops before the automotive fuel tank is completely full. The physics involved in the PSO process is complex and poses a significant challenge in the design of an automotive fuel tank system. A preliminary study is presented which indicates that a Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) solution of the fuel tank filling process for a complete three-dimensional geometry is impractical due to excessive computational time. A hybrid modeling method is investigated to address this problem. In the hybrid model, the fuel tank system is divided into a number of subsystems each with its own specific model. A lumped parameter model is developed to simulate the storage tank and vent tubes while a three-dimensional CFD model is employed to simulate the complex multiphase flow in the filler pipe. The lumped parameter model accounts for vapour generation in the tank. The 3-D multiphase flow model is coupled with the lumped parameter model through the User Defined Function in a CFD program, FLUENT. The model is also modified to consider the effect of tank expansion and that of the variation of tank shape. It is found that the experimental results of multiphase flow in the filler pipe and the tank dome pressure are well predicted through the CFD simulation using the hybrid modeling method. The tank expansion during the period of fuel filling does not significantly affect the flow field. The variation in tank shape, however, can have a significant influence on the flow field. It is also found that a 72.0% to 84.6% savings in computational time can be achieved by using the hybrid model instead of the complete fuel tank geometry model.Dept. of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2002 .Z435. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-07, Section: B, page: 3678. Adviser: Gary M. Rankin. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2003.

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