Refueling options from Radium Engineering
Radium Engineering has been hard at work developing products to make fuel cell filling easier and faster. These new parts work seamlessly with the Radium Fuel Cell Surge Tank (FCST) and associated fuel cells, which have proven to be a popular fuel delivery solution for performance vehicles.

In the past, it was left up to the installer to design and fabricate a custom remote filling solution for the Radium FCST, often requiring additional parts from other companies and making something work. This new product line means the installers can purchase all parts from Radium Engineering and know everything is going work perfectly together.

Because vehicles have different priorities when it comes to refueling, Radium has released several solutions to suit most needs. With so many new products to choose from, Radium has developed this simple explanation to help select the correct products for the customer. By answering a few questions, the customer can be assured they are getting the parts they need.

Understanding Terminology
Filling of the fuel cell can be done one of two ways; "direct fill" or "remote fill". The terms "direct" and "remote" are used often when describing Radium Engineering fuel fill products. Direct fill uses a screw-off cap to pour fuel directly into the cell, while remote filling refers to a body-mounted fill point connected to the fuel cell fill neck with a large diameter hose.
                                                                                        Direct Fill Example
Example of Direct Fill                                                                                         Remote Fill Example
Example of Remote Fill"Standard fill" or "dry break" refer to how the fuel is delivered to the fuel tank from the dump can (or fuel jug). Dry-breaks are handy when refueling needs to be completed quickly in a competitive environment. No caps need to be unscrewed, and fuel is forced into the tank with gravitational pressure. In the past, standard fill options were convenient due to compatibility with common fuel jugs and gas station nozzles. However, the Radium dry-break filler's female dry-break receptacle can be unscrewed. This allows filling with a standard gas station nozzle or non dry-break spout. This is a unique feature to Radium dry-breaks.

Radium Engineering standard remote mount filler using a fuel jug (shown below).

Radium Engineering standard remote mount filler (p/n 20-0505-V) can be used with a standard gas station pump nozzle (shown below).


Radium's dry-break fuel fill connectors, shown below, are an excellent choice when refueling needs to be completed quickly. These require special dump cans and fuel cell vents which can evacuate air quickly during the filling process.


Fuel Fill Product Lineup

Radium has assembled 4 "Complete Fuel Cell Refueling Kits" as detailed below. These comprehensive kits include all parts needed to make a complete filling and venting system that works as designed. The quick fill systems will fill at a rate of approximately 20 gallons per minute using the supplied high-flow venting accessories.
The product page for these complete fuel cell filling kits can be FOUND HERE.
The complete kits include everything needed, including a dump can and vent line, to handle the refueling and venting of a fuel cell equipped with a Radium FCST. 

Other Options
If a complete kit is not an ideal solution, then a custom filling system can be constructed using the products shown below.

A fuel neck bolts directly to the top of the Radium FCST via the 6-bolt hole pattern. Several different fill necks are available for direct and remote fill applications.
All direct mount fill necks can be FOUND HERE.
All remote fill necks can be FOUND HERE.


For remote fill applications, Radium offers the two remote (body) mounted fill points shown below, one for quick-fill dry breaks and one for standard filling. Each are designed to be used with a 1.5" ID fill hose. These products can be FOUND HERE.
The two options below share the same outer "shell", meaning that the dry-break recepticle in 20-0504-V can be unscrewed and replaced with the flush-mount cap from 20-0505-V, or vise-versa. This modular design is unique to Radium products and provides flexibility in what fill method can be used.

These remote fill points feature a very small pressure equalization hole for venting the fuel cell when the main vent may be closed, such as after quick filling. These small holes have a ball that will plug them in the event of a roll-over.

Proper venting is an important part of fuel cell refueling. Fuel can only get in as fast as air can get out. Large high-flow vents are needed for quick filling. A Dynamic Safety Vent (DSV) valve not only offers venting of the fuel cell, it closes the vent in case of rollover, preventing fuel loss. The Radium internal high-flow DSV (P/N: 20-0535) features a floating ball that closes the vent when fuel level reaches a certain calculated point, stopping fuel flow into the cell. This prevents over-pressurizing of the cell during gravity-powered quick filling.
An external vent such as 20-0462 will not automatically shut off fuel flow at a calculated point and is more suited for systems needing a high-flow vent, but without the aut-shut-off control.

NOTE: Radium increased the vent port size on the FCST December 2018 to make it compatible with quick filling. For older 20-014X-XX FCST units that want to use quick filling, an additional vent needs to be added. See part number 20-0439 below. The vent kits are a convenient solution for plumbing a vent line from the fuel cell vent port to outside the vehicle.
Dynamic Safety Vent valves can be FOUND HERE.
Vent Kits can be FOUND HERE.


The accessories below can be useful when putting together a custom system, or when replacement parts are needed. They can be found on various product pagesHERE.

Please contact info@radiumauto.com for assistance with selecting products.



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An Introduction to Fuel Cells and FIA Homologation
Radium Engineering offers top of the line fuel delivery solutions for the motorsports market, including fuel cells. Many consider fuel cells as a simple metal container, when in fact a proper fuel cell is more complex for safety purposes.  A basic aluminum, stainless or mild steel container can easily leak in the event of a collision and could lead to a dangerous fire situation. Even a minor fender bender could create enough force to distort and crack the metal container, resulting in fuel spillage. Fuel weighs nearly 7lbs per gallon, and with a 15 gallon fuel cell that is 100lb of fuel sloshing around inside the metal box, flexing the walls and straining the welds. When that much weight is subject to g-loading from aggressive driving, the resulting forces are very large and can damage poorly designed metal containers. Also, chemical compatibility, weld quality and corrosion are concerns when using a plain metal container for fuel storage.

Fuel cells used in motorsport racing often require FIA homologation to ensure safety requirements are met. The guide below helps explain how a fuel cell works and why homologation is necessary.
 
What is a Fuel Cell?
As shown, fuel cells are generally comprised of three components: the outer shell (enclosure or can), the bladder (where fuel resides) and foam baffling.
Radium Engineering fuel cell enclosures are made from aluminum, but others are generally made from steel. The enclosure is the first part of the cell to absorb damage and to help prevent a serious catastrophe. This layer is similar to the construction of a helmet. The outer enclosure aids in safety but is not the most critical part. FIA does not have a standard thickness for the outer enclosure. Other governing bodies do require certain thicknesses. For instance, SCCA requires a fully enveloped enclosure comprised of 0.036” steel or 0.059” aluminum.
 
The fuel cell bladder protects from fuel spills. The bladder holds fuel and must be resilient against impacts, punctures, and tears. The material also needs to be flexible enough to prevent cracking or fuel leakage in the case of impact. These two requirements have led to the development of high-tech materials. There are a few different materials used for bladders that vary from manufacturer. The fabric-based bladders are comprised of aramid fibers coated with special elastomers while the rigid bladders are rotomolded from a fuel resistant plastic.

Radium Engineering offers the following bladders with FIA homologation:
-Enduro (Molded plastic material)
-ProCell (Coated fabric)
-Spectra-Lite (Coated fabric)

The foam baffling is basically a large sponge inside the fuel cell. If catastrophic failure were to happen, this porous foam helps absorb the fuel and prevent an explosion. As an added benefit, it helps prevent fuel slosh which could adversely affect performance.
 
What is FIA?
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) promotes road safety around the world.
 
The prominent role is the licensing and sanctioning of F1, WRC, World Endurance Championship, and various forms of sports car and touring car racing. 
 
FIA Homologation
For the safety of the driver, FIA homologation is required in many forms of racing. This covers many components including fuel cells. FIA has a few distinct classifications: FIA FT3, FT3.5, and FT5. There are other standards required by sanctioning bodies, but FIA is inline with most forms of racing. 
 
FIA Certification Levels
All of the ratings clearly define the requirements for materials, construction, and testing. The only difference between the ratings is the strength of the bladder material. All tests utilize the same procedures but the levels of certification are based on test results. FT3 is the lowest level requiring the lowest minimums while FT5 requires the highest.
 
FT3: Requires 450 pounds of tensile and puncture strength.
FT3.5: Requires 1000 pounds of tensile and puncture strength.
FT5: Requires 2000 pounds of tensile and puncture strength.
 
For example, Formula-1 requires FT5, but SCCA requires FT3 (although FT3.5 and FT5 are also acceptable.)
 
Certification Expiration
Fuel cell certification expires 5 years after the date of manufacture. There is an option to have fuel cells inspected. They can receive recertification for up to 2 more years. Maximum total lifespan of a fuel cell is 7 years. Check the label on the fuel cell bladder for an expiration date.
 
Fuel Cell Deterioration
Many factors contribute to the bladder breaking down overtime. Anything from heat, UV light, vibrations, and the fuel itself will eventually break down the elastomers. Water and alcohol cause deterioration more rapidly. 
 
Maintenance
Fuel cells generally require some level of maintenance. Regular maintenance ensures it will last the full 5 years and stand a higher chance of recertification.
 
Maintenance tips: Empty the fuel cell during offseason storage. If fuel with any alcohol content is used, such as E15, the fuel cell should be drained regularly. This will extend the life of the fuel cell. Alcohol is most damaging to the foam. Proper care of this part of the cell is crucial for maintenance. Foam breaks down over time and particles can clog the fuel system. It is ideal to periodically replace the foam in the cell to increase cell longevity.
 
Inspection: While you are replacing the foam, always inspect the bladder. Check for chaffing against the container and apply edge tape as necessary. Check to make sure the bladder is not delaminating from the aramid fabric or cracking in the elastomer. Cracks commonly form in the folds and around molded areas. Cracks cannot be repaired without being taken to a proper facility. Cracked bladders must be replaced. It is always a good idea to inspect at the end of the season instead of the weekend before the new season starts.
 
Top Tip: Effective January 2013, all certified cells include a hologram with FIA labeling. Because the FIA homologation is not replaceable, bring it to the event. If the form is lost, it cannot be replaced. Worst case scenario, the cell can be dismantled to show the FIA hologram on the bladder. However, this will unlikely be accepted through tech.

To conclude, metal box style "fuel cells" are prevalant on the discount market, however, they offer little to no engineering or regard to safety. The added cost of a bladder-style fuel cell can be easily justified in the event of any type of incident. 

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New Products for the 2015+ Subaru WRX
Radium Engineering has just released a range of products for the 2015+ Subaru WRX with the FA20 engine. These products are designed to improve the driveability and performance of the WRX without sacrificing reliability. 
The WRX version of the FA20 engine is equipped with tumble generator valves to assist with emissions during cold engine temperatures. These devices also impede air flow in the intake manifold runners. By eliminating the obstruction, a clear airflow path is established. The Radium Engineering TGV deletes are machined from 6061 aluminum and anodized green or black. Installation is quick and easy (compared to EJ-series engines) and can be performed in about 30 minutes.


The tumble generator valves are an emissions control device, and as such should be removed only for vehicle operating off-highway. It is also recommended that a complimentary engine management tune be implemented to take full advantage of the TGV deletes. No permanent modifications to the vehicle are necessary to install the TGV delete kit.

Even with low mileage modern cars, oil accumulation in the air intake stream can happen. The Subaru FA20 engine places the turbocharger down low, in front of the engine. This leads to oil from the PCV system collecting in the turbo air inlet pipe, down near the turbocharger. This oil is result of blow by coming through the crankcase ventilation system. This oil will eventually be digested by the turbocharger and deposited through the charge piping and can even result in blue smoke from the tailpipe. 

The Radium Engineering Dual Catch Can Kit intercepts the PCV gasses and traps the oil and other pollutants before they can make it back into the intake stream. The kit tucks in perfectly on the RH side of the engine bay next to the ABS module, mounts to existing engine bay fasteners and requiring no relocating of engine bay components. The front catch can intercepts the crank case vent hose that connects to the turbo inlet pipe, keeping oil out of the turbo inlet. The rear catch can intercepts the PCV hose coming off the block and going to the intake manifold, keeping oil out of the intake manifold. The catch cans are designed to withstand boost pressure and are sealed, so direct connection to the intake manifold, even with forced induction, is OK.
This kit is perfect for a street driven car experiencing mild amounts of blow-by.

For more race-centered applications, or cars with built high-powered engines, more oil blow by is usually experienced, often overwhelming the volume of the standard Radium catch cans.  For these applications Radium Engineering applied it's Air/Oil separator to the FA20 engine.

The Air/Oil Separator functions in a similar manner to the catch cans, however, the big difference is that oil is returned back to the engine, rather than stored in the catch can. But catch cans do not only catch oil, they also catch water condensation and it is not ideal to have this water mix with the oil, then return it to the engine. To remedy this, the Radium AOS is heated with engine coolant. This keeps the water vapor from condensing and mixing with the oil.

Engine coolant is plumbed through the bottom plate of the AOS.

Another important aspect of the AOS is that it does away with the function of the PCV valve. Instead, the engine is allowed to breathe freely from both the crank case vent port (at the front of the engine) and the PCV valve port (under intake manifold). The PCV valve is removed from the engine block and replaced with Radium's custom made PCV delete fitting, shown below.

This fitting screws into the block and adapts to a -10AN male. It is straight through, with no check valve or any other device built in. This allows maximum ventilation to the AOS through this port. This is also the path for collected oil to drain back to the engine block.
With both engine ports breathing freely into the AOS, the AOS needs to be vented to atmospheric pressure. This is done by routing the AOS side port back to the turbo inlet pipe. This creates a closed-loop system.
The AOS was designed to mount in the engine bay near the brake master cylinder (for LHD vehicles only) using the Radium Master Cylinder Brace for the 2015+ WRX as the mounting point.

The master cylinder brace is a simple and effective way to reduce firewall flex resulting from brake pedal pressure.It is machined from 6061 aluminum and mounts to the strut tower using pre-existing threaded holes. Clearly visible in the photo below are the three threaded holes in the brace where the AOS bracket attaches.  The brace is sold as an individual item, or as part of the AOS kit.

While installing an AOS kit can be done with the stock fuel feed hose, Radium offers an aftermarket fuel feed hose replacement that cleans up the fuel routing and offers better clearance with the AOS. The hose has a PTFE core that is compatible with all fuel types and also features machine-crimped end fittings.

For all of the products shown here, and a few more, please click HERE.
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VIDEO: JTP Drifting the Radium Turbo Elise

Here is a test and tune session with Portland Speed Industries at an abandonded lumber mill in Packwood, Washington. Our long-time friend, Pro Drifter Justin Pawlak (JTP) was on hand to give our car a good work out. He did very well putting on a show despite several characteristics that make the Elise a less than ideal drift car.

More information on this event can be found here.

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