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Title:
FUEL TANK COMPRISING A TEMPERATURE SENSOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/122201
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The fuel tank (1) comprises: - a wall (12) defining an internal volume (20) of the tank, and - a temperature sensor (4) located inside the internal volume of the tank and at least partially enveloped with a material (21) having a thermal diffusivity comprised between 2 x 10-7 and 2 x 10-5 m2/s at 20°C.

Inventors:
CHAUSSINAND, Antoine (41 avenue Jean de Bologne, 1020 BRUXELLES, 1020 BRUXELLES, 1020, BE)
HILL, David (8467 Arlis, COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Michigan, 48382, US)
Application Number:
EP2018/086322
Publication Date:
June 27, 2019
Filing Date:
December 20, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PLASTIC OMNIUM ADVANCED INNOVATION AND RESEARCH (Rue de Ransbeek, 310, 1120 BRUXELLES, 1120, BE)
International Classes:
G01K1/16; B60K15/03; G01K1/14
Foreign References:
JP2016095181A2016-05-26
Other References:
WEMAUSA: "Fuel/Water Temperature Sensors", 7 January 2013 (2013-01-07), XP055511116, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20180928]
F. WAGNER ET AL: "Analysis of Thermal Diffusivity of Metals using Lock-in Thermography", PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2016 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON QUANTITATIVE INFRARED THERMOGRAPHY, 1 January 2016 (2016-01-01), XP055511036, DOI: 10.21611/qirt.2016.093
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LLR (11 boulevard de Sébastopol, Paris, Paris, 75001, FR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A fuel tank (1 ) comprising:

- a wall (12) defining an internal volume (20) of the tank, and

- a temperature sensor (4) located inside the internal volume of the tank and at least partially enveloped with a material (21 ) having a thermal diffusivity comprised between 2 x 107 and 2 x 105 m2/s at 20°C.

2. The fuel tank (1 ) according to claim 1 , wherein the material (21 ) has a thickness comprised between 0,1 and 20 mm.

3. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the temperature sensor (4) has a thermal inertia and the material (21 ) has a thermal inertia according to the following formula:

1 thermal inertia of the temperature sensor ^

3 thermal inertia of the temperature sensor + thermal inertia of the material

4. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the temperature sensor (4) is totally enveloped with the material (21 ). 5. The fuel tank (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the material

(21 ) forms a coating enveloping at least partially the temperature sensor (4).

6. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the material (21 ) forms a housing for housing at least partially the temperature sensor (4).

7. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the material (21 ) is a steel.

8. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the material (21 ) is a stainless steel.

9. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the temperature sensor (4) is attached to the tank via a support. 10. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a pressure sensor having a pressure port (7), wherein the temperature sensor is attached to the pressure port (7) of the pressure sensor.

11 . The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the temperature sensor is welded to the tank.

12. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising a fuel delivery module (16), wherein the temperature sensor (4) is attached to the fuel delivery module (16). 13. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising an electrical wire (13) and an electronical board (6), wherein the electrical wire (13) connects the temperature sensor (4) to the electronical board (6), at least a portion of the electrical wire contiguous to the temperature sensor being enveloped with the material (21 ).

14. The fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising an electrical wire (8, 13) or the electrical wire of claim 13, an electronical board (6) or the electronic board of claim 13, and a pressure sensor having a pressure port (7) forming a hole through the wall (12) of the tank or the pressure sensor having a pressure port (7) of claim 10, wherein the electrical wire (8, 13) connects the temperature sensor (4) to the electronical board (6) through the pressure port (7).

15. A vehicle comprising a fuel tank (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims.

Description:
Fuel tank comprising a temperature sensor

The invention relates to tanks for liquids, such as vehicle fuel tanks.

Fuel tanks comprising a temperature sensor which is located inside an internal volume of the fuel tank in order to measure an internal tank temperature, such as a vapor dome temperature, are known in the art. By conception, the temperature measurement can be submitted to noises. For example, the measurement of a vapor dome temperature of a fuel tank may be noisy due to the impact of the thermal conductivity of wires connected to the temperature sensor or to the impact of the sloshing of the fuel contained in the tank for example while the vehicle is moving.

The present invention aims to provide an improved fuel tank.

The invention relates to a fuel tank comprising:

- a wall defining an internal volume of the tank, and

- a temperature sensor located inside the internal volume of the tank and at least partially enveloped with a material having a thermal diffusivity comprised between 2 x 10 7 and 2 x 10 5 m 2 /s at 20°C.

Such a material forms a“thermal mass” which is capable to improve the correlation between the actual temperature of the internal volume of the tank and the associated signal communicated by the temperature sensor. The characteristics of the material allow to reduce the noise by improving the inertia of the temperature around the sensor. Thus, the temperature measured by the sensor is filtered to a more representative value as the sensor is less influenced by punctual increase or decrease of the sensed temperature due for example to the impact of the thermal conductivity of wires connected to the temperature sensor or to the impact of the sloshing of the fuel contained in the tank.

Thermal diffusivity of a material is a well-known value which may be obtained using the following formula:

Thermal diffusivity (

where“k” is thermal conductivity (W.nr 1 .K ·1 ), "p" is density (kg. nr 3 ), and“Cp” is specific heat capacity (J.kg _1 .K _1 ) of the material.

Further, the fuel tank of the invention allows to improve a fuel system leak detection when this detection is based on the temperature of an internal volume of the tank.

The term“fuel tank’ is understood to mean an impermeable tank that can store a liquid such as fuel under diverse and varied environmental and usage conditions. An example of this tank is that with which a motor vehicle is equipped. The fuel tank according to the invention is preferably made of plastic (i.e. its wall is principally made of plastic). The term “ plastic” means any material comprising at least one synthetic resin polymer. Any type of plastic may be suitable. Particularly suitable are plastics that belong to the category of thermoplastics.

The term“ thermoplastic” is understood to mean any thermoplastic polymer, including thermoplastic elastomers as well as blends thereof. The term polymer is understood to mean both homo- and copolymers (especially binary and ternary copolymers). Examples of such copolymers are, without being limited to, random copolymers, linear block copolymers, other block copolymers and grafts copolymers.

Advantageously, the material has a thickness comprised between 0,1 and 20 mm.

The lower the thermal diffusivity of a material is, the less thick said material is in order to achieve an efficient temperature filtering action. For example, a material having a thermal diffusivity of 2 x 10 7 m 2 /s at 20°C has an efficient filtering action with a thickness of 0,1 mm

Preferentially, the temperature sensor has a thermal inertia and the material has a thermal inertia according to the following formula:

1 thermal inertia of the temperature sensor ^

3 thermal inertia of the temperature sensor + thermal inertia of the material

Thermal inertia is a value well-known by the person skilled in the art. The thermal inertia of a component may for example be obtained by the following formula: mass x specific heat capacity (Cp) of the material of said component.

This ratio ensures good filtering properties of the material. The skilled person is able to choose a material which is adapted to the features of the temperature sensor, i.e. a material having a thermal inertia which allows the above ratio to be fulfilled.

Advantageously, the temperature sensor is totally enveloped with the material.

The temperature filtration by the material is therefore more important and the resulting measurement is more reliable.

In one embodiment, the material forms a coating enveloping at least partially the temperature sensor.

In such an embodiment, the thickness of the material is preferably comprised between 0,1 and 10 mm. The material may form a coating totally enveloping the temperature sensor.

In another embodiment, the material forms a housing for housing at least partially the temperature sensor.

In such an embodiment, the thickness of the material is preferably comprised between 1 and 20 mm. The material may have the form of a sleeve comprising a cavity able to house the temperature sensor. The material may form a housing for housing all of the temperature sensor.

Preferably, the material is a steel. Steel may have for example a thermal diffusivity of 1 , 172 x 10 5 m 2 /s.

Advantageously, the material is a stainless steel.

Stainless steel may have for example a thermal diffusivity of 3,352 x 10 6 m 2 /s. Of course, any other material having a thermal diffusivity comprised between 2 x 10 7 and 2 x 10 5 m 2 /s at 20°C may be used.

In an embodiment, the temperature sensor is attached to the tank via a support.

The support may be for example of the dovetail joint or clip type. The support may be placed on the wall of the tank during the manufacture of the tank, for example during a twin sheet blow molding (TSBM) process or by welding. Other types of supports may be used.

In one preferred embodiment, the tank further comprises a pressure sensor having a pressure port, the temperature sensor being attached to the pressure port of the pressure sensor.

In an embodiment, the temperature sensor is welded to the tank.

In an embodiment, the tank further comprises a fuel delivery module, the temperature sensor being attached to the fuel delivery module.

The sensor may be directly attached to the fuel delivery module or may be mounted on a support which is attached to the fuel delivery module.

Advantageously, the fuel tank further comprises an electrical wire and an electronical board, wherein the electrical wire connects the temperature sensor to the electronical board, at least a portion of the electrical wire contiguous to the temperature sensor being enveloped with the material.

Thus, the impact of the thermal conductivity of the electrical wire is further limited.

Preferably, the tank comprises an electrical wire or the electrical wire as described above, an electronical board or the electronical board as described above, and a pressure sensor assembly having a pressure port forming a hole through the wall of the tank or the pressure sensor having a pressure port as described above, wherein the electrical wire connects the temperature sensor to the electronical board through the pressure port.

The invention also relates to a vehicle comprising a fuel tank as described above.

The above and other characteristics, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of examples, the principles of the invention. The reference figures quoted below refer to the attached drawings wherein: - figure 1 is a schematic side view of a first embodiment of a tank according to the invention;

- figure 2 is a schematic side view of a portion of a second embodiment of a fuel tank according to the invention;

- figure 3 is a schematic side view of a third embodiment of a tank according to the invention. The present invention will be described with respect to particular embodiments and with reference to certain drawings but the invention is not limited thereto. The drawings described are only schematic and are non-limiting. In the drawings, the size of some elements may be exaggerated and not drawn on scale for illustrative purposes. First embodiment (figures 1 )

The fuel tank 1 comprises a flange 2, a pressure sensor assembly 3 mounted on the flange, and a temperature sensor 4.

In the present embodiment, the wall 12 of the fuel tank 1 is made of a thermoplastic material. The wall 12 of the tank 1 defines an internal volume 20 of the tank 1.

The pressure sensor assembly 3 is showed in a schematic view in figure 1 wherein not all of the components comprised in this assembly are represented. However, the pressure sensor assembly 3 of this embodiment is similar to the pressure sensor assembly 3 of the second embodiment (see figure 2). Thus, the numerical references used for the components of the pressure sensor assembly 3 of the second embodiment are also used below for the description of the first embodiment.

The pressure sensor assembly 3 comprises a pressure sensor 5 which is capable of measuring a pressure. The pressure sensor assembly 3 also comprises an electronical board 6 for pressure signal acquisition, temperature signal acquisition, and the creation of a SENT message and the sending of this message to an electronic control unit (ECU) (not shown). Of course, the electronical board 6 may be capable of creating other types of messages such as CAN or LIN messages for example. The pressure sensor assembly 3 comprises a pressure port 7. The pressure port 7 has the general form of a hollow pillar and the interior of the pressure port 7 forms a hole through a top portion of the wall 12 of the tank 1. The pressure sensor assembly 3 further comprises a sealing element 17 surrounding a major portion of a median outer surface of the pressure port 7, thus ensuring a good sealing of the hole in the wall 12 of the tank 1 through which the pressure port 7 is introduced.

An electrical wire 8 connected to the electronical board 6 extends from said electronical board 6 to the inside 20 of the tank 1 through the hole formed by the pressure port 7. This electronical wire 8 is connected at its end ending in the inside 20 of the tank 1 to a female part 9 of a connector 10.

The temperature sensor 4 is located inside the internal volume 20 of the tank 1. The temperature sensor 4 is attached to an inner side of a top portion of the tank wall 12. The temperature sensor 4 comprises an electrical wire 13 which is connected, at its end which is not connected to the temperature sensor, to a male part 14 of the connector 10. The temperature sensor is totally enveloped with a material 21 having a thermal diffusivity comprised between 2 x 10 7 and 2 x 10 5 m 2 /s at 20°C and a thickness comprised between 0,1 and 20 mm. Such a material 21 is capable of improving the correlation between the actual temperature in an internal volume 20 of the tank 1 and the associated signal communicated by the temperature sensor 4. In the present embodiment, the material 21 is stainless steel. Of course, any other material 21 having thermal diffusivity and thickness values as defined above, such as 1 mm of ordinary steel, would be suitable for the enveloping of the temperature sensor 4.

In the present embodiment, a portion of the wire 13 contiguous to the temperature sensor 4 is also enveloped with the material 21 . Of course, it may be provided that this portion is not enveloped with the material 21.

Thus, the connector 10 is made of two parts: a female part 9 of the connector 10 and a male part 14 of the connector 10.

The female part 9 and the male part 14 of the connector 10 are connected together so that the temperature sensor 4 can send a signal to the electronical board 6. Of course, it can be provided that the electrical wire 8 connected to the electronical board 6 is connected to the female part of the connector 10 and that the wire 13 connected to the temperature sensor 4 is connected to the male part of the connector 10.

Second embodiment (figure 2)

All the features of the tank 1 of this embodiment are identical to those of the first embodiment except that the temperature sensor is attached to the tank 1 at the vicinity of the pressure port 7, which allows the use of a single electrical wire 22 and no connector.

Alternatively, the temperature sensor 4 may be directly or indirectly attached to the pressure port. In one particular embodiment, the temperature sensor 4 may be attached to an inner side of the pressure port 7. In another particular embodiment, the temperature sensor 4 may be attached to the outer side of the pressure port 7.

Third embodiment (figure 3)

All the features of the tank 1 of this embodiment are identical to those of the first embodiment except that the temperature sensor 4 is not directly attached to the wall 12 of the tank 1 but is attached to a fuel delivery module 16. This module is located inside the tank and comprises various organs such as a pump and a meter for transferring predetermined amounts of fuel outside the tank to a vehicle motor. Whilst the principles of the invention have been set out above in connection with specific embodiments, it is to be understood that this description is merely made by way of example and not as a limitation of the scope of the invention which is determined by the appended claims.

For example, the temperature sensor of the invention is not necessarily connected to an electronical board of a pressure sensor assembly or does not necessarily pass through the pressure port of a pressure sensor assembly.

Further, the temperature sensor is not necessarily connected to the pressure sensor assembly using a connector but may be connected to it by any other means known by the skilled person.

Forming a coating or housing are not the only ways to envelop the temperature sensor with the material, there are other ways, for instance, the material may be overmolded, welded, soldered, glued or clamped onto the temperature sensor. The temperature sensor of the invention may also be impregnated by dipping in the material.