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I listened to the AGM. I thought it was very well done. Thank you. 

 

One area that I found wanting was around the fuel cell wording change. The discussion in the meeting was about 15 seconds long and provided almost no insight into the rational or what the actual change was. The petition (10) itself had wording issues and some inaccuracies around SFI expirations. 

 

I'd like to know what it actually means for 2023.

 

  • What certifications are allowed?
  • What is required to demonstrate certifications? ie most certifications are on the cell and not the metal container. 
  • Are cells being expired?

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Sorry, I missed this.

 

This is what the petitioner wrote as a suggested fix:

Quote

What I suggested via an email to the CCES BOD was to reword the rule:

2021 Rule - 
9.10.2.3. All fuel cells must have FIA-FT3 (or higher) or SFI-28.1 certification.

Revised rule - 
9.10.2.3. All fuel cells must have FIA or SFI certification.  

This simplifies the rule, though it does require that cells that are expired (all FIA, SFI 28.3) can't be used. But, it allows for the lower cost SFI 28.1 and 28.2 cells can be used without expiration. But they must be in good shape.

The only people it hurts are the guys that have gone out and purchased used fuel cells from NASCAR or IMSA teams. Or even old SCCA/NASA FIA cells. 
My SFI 28.1 rated cell cost me about $450 from Summit Racing. 

 

The current rule is correct as the petitioner wrote.

 

SFI 28.1 expire after 5 years, with the option of a 2-yr recert

image.png.ad77d4a101e713f1432d6ad773c69423.png

 

SFI 28.3 expire after 5 years, no recert

image.png.de4939c2f5a7844d9e7246a0c8c44179.png

 

 

I don't understand the petitioner's last sentence, and neither did the rest of the BOD.  The rule change, as petitioned and approved, does not reduce, in any way, the allowable cells in champcar.  It only indicates that additional certification (levels) from FIA or SFI are allowed.

 

 

Current practice, as I understand it ( @Ray Franck can chime in) is that they are checking for cell expiration.  If there are no markings on the cell and the team can't produce a certificate they have been giving 1 race waivers if the cell is in good appearance shape and asking for documentation or replacement before the next event.  I'm not super stoked about this, but its up to Tech to decide how they interpret these things.

Edited by Chris Huggins
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This was discussed in depth on this forum before.  
 

Bill wrote that petition.  Bill has also acknowledged that the information about the 28.1 cells not expiring was incorrect in a previous thread.  
 

28.2 cells are midget and sprint car specific tail tanks. Therefor they are not applicable. 
 

All SFI or FIA cells expire.  28.1 certified cells are not designed for road racing.  They do not require a metal canister around them for SFI certification.  This should be addressed separately in the rules of Champcar wants that. 
 

There is also a big difference in how 28.3 cells are made.  Some are made from a flexible lightweight fabric/resin while others are made from a rigid polymer.  The fabric ones are lighter and deform better. But they also deteriorate.  The rigid polymer ones are able to pass the 28.3 tests, but they do not age and deteriorate like the fabric ones do.  These rigid polymer ones are what most of the affordable cells are made out of.  
 

IMO, if Champcar really wanted to save the racers money, they would work with the insurance company to allow rigid polymer constructed cells to be used past their expiration date.  
 

Personally I don’t like the idea of using the 28.1 cells, but they are likely safer than the stock tanks.  
 

Something along the lines of:

 

“Fuel cells must be SFI or FIA certified. Flexible fabric type bladders must be within the expiration date of the manufacturer. Rigid Polymer construction bladders must be in good working condition free from damage”

Internal foam must fill atleast 70% of the internal volume and be in good condition.”

 

I have worked with an insurance company on these SFI details and they are not always cut and dry.  The fact that Champcar allows FIA seats past their expiration date and states so specifically in the rules tells me that there is some room for adjustment here.  
 

There is also an SFI 32.1 spec that should be included. They are a NASCAR specific cell that would far exceed the others. 

 

 

Edited by petawawarace
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This was discussed in-depth before and no answers came of it. Being that the board voted on it and then didn't provide direction on it in the AGM I'd like to hear more. re: 

 

 

So the current practice (last 18 months) does appear to be expiring fuel cells, it is 1) new enforcement 2) different then every other amateur series including NASA/SCCA. See link above where I quoted rule books. I have two "WTF" questions 1) if we are expiring why isn't it explicitly stated in the rule book like every other expiring item 2) why are we expiring them at all. 

 

I put a fuel cell in in 2020. In 2021 the capacity rules changed such that adding a fuel cell wasn't required for the capacity I'm allowed. Now we are expiring them unlike every other comparable series. I'm going to have to replace the cell every 5 years at significant cost on top of belt, fire system, nets, etc for something I really no longer need because we can't have a stable rule book. 

Edited by veris
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From a practical perspective it would also be good to know what is required to demonstrate certification since the bladder is encased in metal. I've never seen a certificate with a cell. Just stamps on the side of the cell. In my case I took pictures at the time of install. 

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1 hour ago, veris said:

 

So the current practice (last 18 months) does appear to be expiring fuel cells, it is 1) new enforcement 2) different then every other amateur series including NASA/SCCA. See link above where I quoted rule books. I have two "WTF" questions 1) if we are expiring why isn't it explicitly stated in the rule book like every other expiring item 2) why are we expiring them at all. 


I agree.  Unfortunately I have little control over what has been happening.

 

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1 hour ago, Chris Huggins said:


I agree.  Unfortunately I have little control over what has been happening.

 

Just keep voicing your positions.  Much Like Jer used to do, it helps the membership to see that there are differing opinions and allows us members to see who values what we value!  Appreciate all of your posts, even when we disagree!

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I find this a little disheartening as I voted for Ray on the board for two reasons 1) his expertise and 2) so the board and tech would be on the same page. 

 

IMO doing this differently then all other series is ridiculous, but if you are atleast have it worded in the rule book consistently with other expiring items. 

 

I should also say, that while I disagree with the expiry and rule wording (if expiring), the enforcement seems reasonable. 

Edited by veris
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On 6/2/2022 at 5:08 PM, veris said:

From a practical perspective it would also be good to know what is required to demonstrate certification since the bladder is encased in metal. I've never seen a certificate with a cell. Just stamps on the side of the cell. In my case I took pictures at the time of install. 

ATL cells come with a certificate with date of manufacture. along with the FIA/SFI rating. Not sure on the others.

 

It should be noted the polymer tanks cars/trucks have had from the factory for decades now do not deteriorate so I'm not seeing why a polymer fuel cell should be expired after 5 years.

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4 hours ago, Bandit said:

ATL cells come with a certificate with date of manufacture. along with the FIA/SFI rating. Not sure on the others.

 

It should be noted the polymer tanks cars/trucks have had from the factory for decades now do not deteriorate so I'm not seeing why a polymer fuel cell should be expired after 5 years.

It’s because some cells made to the same standard (SFI 28.3) are made out of the flexible fabric construction. They will and do deteriorate.  But the SFI standard does not spell out how they are to be made. Just that they pass certain tests.  
 

That and it’s an SFI money grab. 

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10 hours ago, petawawarace said:

It’s because some cells made to the same standard (SFI 28.3) are made out of the flexible fabric construction. They will and do deteriorate.  

Comments from aviation:

 

"Rigid tanks are either welded aluminum or molded or fabricated fiberglass units that fit into a slot in the wing or fuselage and are connected to other tanks or plumbing with hoses or metal tubes and fittings. Bladders are flexible, self-contained cells made of various rubberized materials suspended by hooks inside the wing cavity. Wet wings simply use the skins and ribs of the wing for fuel storage, with the seams and gaps filled with a pliable sealing compound such as Pro-Seal.

 

Of the three, we would say the bladder system has definite advantages, since its easily repairable, lasts as long as 50 years and is considered relatively fire safe in a crash. The military and commercial operators seem to think so, too, since they stick with bladders." (My emphasis added)

 

By this, one would assume that OEM steel and polymer tanks would be less desirable in a race car than a bladder system. With bladders exhibiting a useful life that can be as long as 50 years even when exposed to the heat of being in the upper part of the wing with the aircraft parked outside, it seems a bit absurd to expire race car fuel cell bladders in 5 years.

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24 minutes ago, mender said:

Comments from aviation:

 

"Rigid tanks are either welded aluminum or molded or fabricated fiberglass units that fit into a slot in the wing or fuselage and are connected to other tanks or plumbing with hoses or metal tubes and fittings. Bladders are flexible, self-contained cells made of various rubberized materials suspended by hooks inside the wing cavity. Wet wings simply use the skins and ribs of the wing for fuel storage, with the seams and gaps filled with a pliable sealing compound such as Pro-Seal.

 

Of the three, we would say the bladder system has definite advantages, since its easily repairable, lasts as long as 50 years and is considered relatively fire safe in a crash. The military and commercial operators seem to think so, too, since they stick with bladders." (My emphasis added)

 

By this, one would assume that OEM steel and polymer tanks would be less desirable in a race car than a bladder system. With bladders exhibiting a useful life that can be as long as 50 years even when exposed to the heat of being in the upper part of the wing with the aircraft parked outside, it seems a bit absurd to expire race car fuel cell bladders in 5 years.

The website that you copied that from has a section right below it saying that degradation is accelerated when there is less than a full tank or it’s stored in a dry hot environment.  
 

Also, those bladders are not made from

the same material as the fabric 28.3 ones. Aircraft bladders do not have the same puncture resistant requirements that a racecar does.  
 

The flexible racecar bladders are not lasting 50 years.  I do agree they should last 10, but they do deteriorate and fail.  

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