Fuel Tanks

Modeling Complex Storage Tanks

Gasoline tanks in airplanes, boats, and cars have complicated shapes that often include subcompartments. Often, there are other components (anti-slosh baffles, pumps, hydraulic boxes, etc.) submerged within these tanks, especially if the fuel is also serving a dual purpose as a coolant.

These partially-filled vessels are subject to motions which can cause fuel to shift within the tank, and perhaps flowing between subcompartments. Each wall, box, panel, and baffle represents a different thermal environment.

Now make it more complicated: ask for the fuel temperature as a function of time versus some flight or drive scenario. Actually, what is really needed is to find the minimum or maximum fuel temperature after scanning through hundreds or even thousands of mission scenarios, so an extremely fast solution is need. And, oh by the way, you need to model the entire vehicle to get the temperatures right.

FloCAD® Compartments are designed for just such challenges. The liquid surface can be shift dynamically as the vehicle turns or accelerates, or as the fuel drains. Coarsely discretized walls and other objects are "sliced" into wet and dry portions, applying customizable heat transfer relationships to each phase (liquid or gas/vapor ullage). If the fuel moves quickly between zones, even faster simulations can be made by assuming the same liquid surface everywhere within the tank.

Marine Fuel Tank: Initial, 20 minutes later, then 20 minutes after that. Total CPU time: 2 minutes on a PC.

Thermal-centric Modeling: You won't find capabilities like these anywhere else.

Click here to fetch the Marine Tank Example from our User Forum