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First developed in the 1960’s, safety fuel cells have added an important safety element on the racetrack ever since. You may be wondering what safety fuel cells are exactly? Let’s have a look at what they are, how they work, and why you should use them for racing. After all, they may just help to save your life.
What Are Safety Fuel Cells?
Otherwise known as ‘racing fuel cells’, safety fuel cells work in the same way as a gas tank works on a standard car. Safety fuel cells are designed to stop fuel from spilling in the event of an accident. The explosive nature of fuel is one that you can’t take lightly when it comes to racing. Take note that safety fuel cells are different to hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells are used to generate power in certain electric cars.
How Do Racing Fuel Cells Work?
Fuel cells generally consist of three main components:
- The first component is the bladder, or bag tank. This is the part that carries fuel inside and forms the core component of the system. Made from high tensile strength elastomeric components, the bladder is extremely strong and flexible. This is because the bladder must be strong enough to withstand tears, but must also be flexible enough to deform in the event of an impact. The bladder is designed to withstand the fuels chemical attack and acts as a defensive line in the event of a crash.
- The second component is the foam baffling which is found inside the bladder. An easy way to understand the foam baffling is to picture a sponge inside the fuel safety cell. If a puncture ever occurs in the cell, the foam baffling will help to prevent the fuel from exploding. Another benefit of the foam is that it prevents sloshing of the fuel within the cell. Foam baffling along with Fuel cell design is crucial as it helps to prevent the movement of fuel which in effect improves with the handling of the vehicle.
- The third and final component is the fuel cell enclosure or the ‘can’. This is normally made from steel or aluminum and is the cell’s first line of defense against damage. It’s quite similar to the outer shell of a helmet. It’s hardy, but only has a limited ability to protect you. Enclosures are constructed to surround the bladder tightly while still allowing for a high capacity of fuel storage.
Why Fuel Cells Should Be Used In Racing
Making use of a safety fuel cell carries a similar importance as wearing a seat belt. A fuel cell helps to provide the driver with the performance they need while preventing the fuel from sloshing around. It also helps to ensure that every drop of fuel is used. A fuel cell helps to give the driver peace of mind that they will be protected in the unfortunate event of an accident. It also gives the driver confidence to race competitively while still feeling safe with their car. In the event of an accident, the fuel cell is designed to retain all the fuel even if it’s directly hit. This is because of the layering of safety components mentioned above.
Get The Best Advice
Safety Fuel cells come in three different standard ratings. Known as FIA ratings, these different standards are defined by different levels of bladder material strength. The three levels are FT3, FT3.5, and FT5. FT5 for instance is required in Formula 1 as it provides the highest possible safety level. At Foreign Affairs Motorsports, we’ll be able to advise you based on your racing requirements to which level is best for you.
At Foreign Affairs Motorsport, we offer top advice and service when it comes to getting a safety fuel cell installed. We are authorized dealers for all the top safety fuel cell brands. Not only that, but we can supply and fit your vehicle with the safety fuel cell that best suits your vehicle and racing requirements. By using a highly developed construction process, combined with technologically advanced materials, the safety fuel cells that we install will give you the confidence you need to give it your all on the race track.