Tech Info : Basics

WHAT are bladder fuel cells made of?

Pliocel

Bladder fuel cells are an assembly of flexible fuel resistant polymers, fabric materials, metal items and fittings. A cross section of a fuel cell wall construction consists of a fuel resistant polymer (typically liquefied nylon, Neoprene, Buna-N / Nitrile or Urethane) laminated to a fabric substrate (typically polyester or nylon) which provides structural support and puncture resistance.

Goodyear built the original civilian fuel cell. They called it a "Pliocel." The process of making a Pliocel was an early version of seamless multi-ply construction. This construction consisted of one to two layers of nylon woven fabric laminated with two to three layers of transparent nylon coatings. They were state of the art in the early 40's and were installed in such planes as the Culver, Luscombe, Aeronca, Grumman and Sikorsky. Historically, they have been fairly resilient, however age, increased aromatic and chemical content in fuels, and the innate limitations of early technology have caused the Pliocels to become extremely brittle and begin to leak at flex points

Fuel Cell

As synthetic rubbers such as Nitrile were developed, they gained widespread use in the petroleum industry and quickly became the dominant material for fuel cells in the 1940's. During World War II, the use of Nitrile greatly increased due the demand for sealing tanks in fighters and bombers. Original Equipment manufacturers (OEM's) such as US Rubber, Uniroyal, Firestone, BF Goodrich and others have used Nitrile rubber almost exclusively.

Goodyear eventually abandoned the nylon Pliocel process in the mid 60's, choosing to use their own newly developed urethane polymers

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