EAA's Response to the Ethanol and Fiberglass Issue

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EAA's Response to the Ethanol and Fiberglass Issue

Postby scubarider2 » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:15 pm

I wrote the EAA consultant about this issue.  Here is the response:

Dennis,
 
Thank you for the e-mail.  Problems have developed with fiberglass fuel tanks and ethanol blended gasoline stored in them.  This problem has become more known with the widespread increase in ethanol blended fuels.  The boating industry also has many problems with this.
 
Some resins used to build epoxy fuel tanks are not resistant to ethanol.  Because of this, it is possible that resin could leach out of the tank and be carried into the engine and possibly form deposits in the engine.  Over time it could degrade the structural integrity of the tank where the tank may start to leak.  The type of resin used to build the tank will dictate if it is resistant to ethanol or not.  Polyester resins and some epoxies can have problems, usually vinyl ester resins are resistant to ethanol.
 
Rotax does not approve ethanol blended fuels in the 912.  Many  people have used these fuels in experimental aircraft and not had any trouble.  The best results are obtained when fresh fuel is used.  If left sitting idle for extended periods then problems can occur because the ethanol will attract water and water will be collected in the fuel and not separate out.  When enough water is attracted it will phase separate out into a slug of water.  Typically, this will happen up at higher altitudes and may not be detected on the ground. 
 
Timm Bogenhagen, EAA #379292
Senior Aviation Specialist
EAA-The Spirit of Aviation

Looking at this response, do we know about the resins used in our tanks??? :?:
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Postby Johnny C! » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:02 pm

The tank manufacturer will be able to
supply very specific info on his materials.
We just have to ask.

I find it reasonable that he may have
started with a perfectly good material
standard, say, several years ago, but
with the advent of Ethanol, he may
not have changed with the times.

Troy or someone, needs to get specific
material info for what was used in our tanks...

Good job Dennis.

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flying an airplane. There is no sense in rushing any of the others.

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Postby stede52 » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:41 pm

Just an FYI,  according to the Just Aircraft tank manufacturer, the vinyl ester resin he is currently using is approved by the manufacturer for all ethanol fuels. He is also changing his manufacturing process to insure that the inside skim coating they apply when they glue the tops and bottoms of the tanks together as hard as the outside.

Steve
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Postby scubarider2 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:46 pm

Steve,  do you know when the manufacturer starting using the ethanol safe resin?  One year, two, ten?  Was wondering about all those tanks out there 5+ years old.
Dennis
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Postby stede52 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:07 am

Dennis, that I don't know, Troy would need to find out from the tank manufacturer.

Steve
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Materials

Postby Lynng » Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:26 am

As I said before it is only a matter of Troy actually giving the owners specific quality control information that would relieve all this conjecture.  :?
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Postby stede52 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:15 pm

Lynn
I agree 100%, I also think Just should be sending out and offical AD on this issue.

Steve
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Postby Dave Krall CFII SEL SES » Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:30 am

stede52 wrote:Lynn
I agree 100%, I also think Just should be sending out and offical AD on this issue.

Steve


Regarding ADs, I received an official AD on the tank safety issue 2 days ago via my email, similar to rinsing instructions thusfar given on this forum.
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