The compatibility of plastic materials used in fuel storage and dispensing applications was determined for a test fuel representing
gasoline blended with 10% ethanol. Prior investigations were performed on gasoline fuels containing 25, 50 and 85% ethanol, but the
knowledge gap existing from 0 to 25% ethanol precluded accurate compatibility assessment of low level blends, especially for the
current E10 fuel (gasoline containing 10% ethanol) used in most filling stations, and the recently accepted E15 fuel blend (gasoline
blended with up to15% ethanol).
For the majority of the plastic materials evaluated in this study, the wet volume swell (which is the parameter most commonly used to
assess compatibility) was higher for fuels containing 25% ethanol, while the volume swell accompanying E10 was much lower.
However, several materials, such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), fiberglass resins, and the polyethylene terephthalate co-polymer
(PETG) exhibited similar volume expansions with both 10 and 25% ethanol.
In the second part of this study, the compatibility performance of the infrastructure plastics in the E10 test fuel was compared to a test
fuel containing 16% isobutanol (which has the same oxygen level as E10). The measured property changes (volume and hardness) in
these two fuels were similar for the majority of the plastics tested. However, Nylon 6, Nylon 6,6, and the vinyl ester fiberglass resin
showed much better compatibility with a 16% isobutanol blend than with a blend containing 10% ethanol.

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Tim Theiss
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Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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