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MCS is using an Araldite hot curing epoxy system from Huntsman Advanced Materials for the production of high-strength, composite fuel tanks for performance and endurance vehicles.

The new technology provides lightweight benefits while offering high fuel capacity in an eco-friendly fuel system for land vehicles.

The MCS technology is based on a carbon-fibre epoxy matrix system.

Composite fuel tanks are more than 55 per cent lighter than steel cylinders, which are typically used as compressed natural-gas (CNG) fuel tanks, providing a more favourable weight-to-volume ratio than their steel counterparts.

Composite fuel tanks improve the overall performance of endurance and performance vehicles, also enabling far greater distances to be travelled with no need to refuel.

MCS chose Araldite LY 564 low-viscosity epoxy resin, Aradur 917 anhydride hardener and 960-1 Accelerator.

The decision was based on the Araldite system’s overall mechanical properties in terms of its good fibre impregnation properties and simple handling behaviour.

Used in the filament winding process, this hot curing epoxy system helps to produce structural parts and components that are lightweight and durable, making it ideal for performance and endurance vehicles.

‘As well as offering attractive operational features such as low viscosity, a long pot life and short cure times, we were most impressed with the Araldite system’s supreme resistance to the pressure load that enables this new generation of composite cylinders to hold far greater volumes of fuel,’ said Heinz Kubitza, director of engineering at MCS.

One eco-friendly land vehicle, a CNG-powered Volkswagen (VW) Caddy Ecofuel, has been travelling the world with help from CNG composite pressure fuel tanks developed by MCS and the Araldite hot curing epoxy system.

The selection of the higher-capacity composite gas tanks by Rainer Zietlow, the driver of the VW Caddy, is central to his mission to drive the planet’s longest highways using locally fuelled natural gas, while maximising the time spent on the road.

According to figures published in March 2010, Zietlow’s VW Caddy Ecofuel, powered by CNG, has travelled almost 20,000 miles (32,000km) on its current journey, with savings on its CO2 emissions of some 20 per cent compared with a standard 1.6-litre petrol engine.

The chosen Araldite system enhances resistance to pressure and helps to create lightweight composite fuel tanks – both important features if composite tanks are to feature in the design of environmentally friendly vehicles in the future.

Huntsman Advanced Materials

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