Daily Archives: November 30, 2017

Designing gas tanks instead of sleeping

Just because I can’t get words out because brain not working right doesn’t mean I stop thinking. The exact opposite happens.

I was trying to come up with a frame that would put me on the driver’s side of the car and still be stiff and that I could fit inside the body without chopping the body into little pieces and hanging a couple of hundred dzus fittings on the frame to attach the body. Physically can’t be done. So I’m back to sitting in the center of the car and the gas tank is now sitting on either side of the frame instead of the passenger side of the interior. The fun part is now I have to design a pair of fuel tanks that literally have no parallel sides and figure out how much gas (E85) I can carry between them.

First things first I measured the body to find out what space I had to work with. The major design constraint is the sides of the tank are going to be flat pieces of steel for ease of construction, so where the curves in the body make that impossible defines the volume of the tank. First constraint is where the back of the body starts to curve up from the floor, which defines the length, 41 inches from the inside of the firewall. Second constraint is being able to slide the tanks in from the top without removing anything, so the tanks have to clear the dash and the top flanges of the body and the bottom of the dash is 10.5″ from the inside of the firewall, leaving 30.5″ as the length of the tanks. Measuring the inside of the body at the floor gave me a width of 33″ at the front and 34″ at the back. Measuring the same locations at the body top flange gave me 37″ at the front and 44″ at the back, and a depth of 19″ inside the body flanges. Now not all of this volume will be available for fuel storage, I’m going to occupy a large chunk of it, 27″ down the center front to back.

This leaves us with two methods to determine the available volume, find the total volume and subtract the volume taken up by the frame around the driver, or remove the space taken up by the frame around the driver from the measurements and calculate the space left over. The easy part is the volume occupied by the frame around the driver 27″ wide by 30.5″ long by 19″ deep, or 15646.5 in3. The volume around that is a bit trickier to calculate because the space is a trapezoidal polyhedron, and the volume is the average area of the top and bottom times the depth. The quick way to calculate the average area of the top and bottom was to average the top and bottom widths on both ends, by adding them up and dividing by the number of measurements (4) and multiplying by the length (30.5) and then the depth (19) to determine the total volume. Subtracting the volume occupied by the driver and frame leaves 25.4 gallons for fuel. Which is not enough to get across the E85 barrens of west Texas and NM at the projected fuel economy for the vehicle. That means I need to make the tanks bigger or find room for another tank. Now one way I can make the tanks bigger is taking less space for the frame (and me) but it is late and I’m getting tired and unmedicated brain is not thinking good and wants to sleep.