BEST WAYS TO INCREASE FUEL TANKERS STABILITY AND REDUCE ACCIDENTS ON NIGERIA ROADS
The number of occurrences of petroleum tanks falling off the road and causing fire to damage costly properties and killing people within have been on a large scale, at least every year about ten to twenty of such incident happens across the whole state in Nigeria, this has created a lot of panic among the road users whenever a petroleum tank is passing, and majority of these occurrences are the ones loaded with petroleum product.
A critical look at the possible causes of this problem in regard to the design of the petroleum tank and its truck has revealed some flaw in design according to the state of Nigerian environment and its roads condition, which is not the same with the countries such design is applied. So we need to design things according to the condition of our environment, not the way it is in the western world.
From the research conducted below are the suggestions that would reduce the falling of the vehicle by increasing its stability on the roads:
STREAMLINING WITH IMPROVEMENT ON THE SUSPENSIONS
The tanks of the trucks need to be streamlined to create a reduced effect on the truck when there is a gallop of the petroleum product in the tank. Though there is a normal and standard gap in which fuel tanks are built but in the case of Nigeria roads where most fuel tanks and other heavy vehicles do fall off the road for the reason of instability while on high speed. This has given a cause for concern into the design aspect and the factors put in place by the engineers while building the truck.
Consider the two diagrams below:
Looking at the figures above you will quickly discover the difference in the two designs, FIGURE A is the current design employed by most engineers, while FIGURE B is a design I believe is better to help reduce the rate which petroleum tanks fall on Nigerian roads.
Considering the design in FIGURE A, the fuel tank is built with equal diameter in four cardinal axis which according to newton’s law of gravity, the force of gravity acting downward on the truck is small when compared to the one in FIGURE B , this force will go a long way to keeping the truck balanced on the ground, when the law of pressure is applied which states that the forces acting on a body when divided by the area it is acting will give the pressure on that body, then FIGURE B is the recommended design due to its eclipse shape that balances on the ground with its larger diameters facing upwards and downwards. Therefore the gravitational force is able to act in a larger area than FIGURE A.
A look at FIGURE B will show the improvement in the suspension method between the tires and the body that should be another area of concern. A good suspension method should give each tire independent way of adjusting in any pothole without affecting the other.
ADDING MORE TIRES
The addition of more tires is another way of creating stability since the load in the tank can now be shared with other tires thereby prolonging the tire lifespan and making it easy to carry the tank comfortably.
Taking a look at FIGURE you will discover that the tank has two tires in each position, which make it six tires in the three positions.
But when another consideration is given to FIGURE B you will discover that it has four tires in each position, totally twelve tires in the three position. This design is very good and create the more rigid look and balance when the truck will be fully loaded.
The recent technology that enables automatic door to detect an approaching image and use the detection to trigger an electric motor to rotate a clockwise direction and make the door to open and stay open until the detection of the image disappears, then it will trigger the electric motor to rotate in anti-clockwise direction cause the door to close pending until next time another image will be detected. I love that technology since my friend did it as his final year project and it worked perfectly, controlling and securing the movements and activities at the entrance to the department. This same technology can be employed in the trucks to be able to quickly detect an approaching potholes at the location of the tire so as to automatically trigger a high reduction of speed at a particular distance as the truck is coming near the potholes, this can be achieved by having the sensors mounted directly on the two sides of front tires location to detect image in the form of objects or potholes and trigger an electric motor to control the truck speed even while the driver is unaware. This design becomes important as most of the petroleum tanks that fall occur due to high speed while trying to pass across some potholes.
THE TANK TIRES NEEDS MORE SPACING ACCORDING TO THE NEW TANK DIAMETER
Taking a critical look at the two figures A & B of petroleum tanks, you will observe the difference in the tires stings, FIGURE A has its tires about 12 feet apart from each other because probably the uniform diameter of the tank is 12 feet, so the tires were meant to have the same position as the fuel tank.
But consider the FIGURE B where the tank is in ellipse shape therefore under the same volume of tank the larger diameter should be around 14feet to 16 feet which mean the tires are to be separated apart for the same range which is either 14 feet or 16 feet apart depending on how properly the ellipse shape was designed, bearing in mind that the more the larger diameter, the more stable the tank becomes.
GAP BETWEEN THE TRUCK AND TANK SHOULD NOT BE HIGH
Another thing to put into consideration is the gap that exist between the truck and the truck carrying it, when the gap is much it create more dragging effect on the truck whenever the tank tilts to a particular angle as a result of gallops or potholes, the same happens to the tank when the truck encounters potholes, hence the case is vice versa.
Taking a look at the figure a & b, you will discover that the gap that exists between the tank and the truck in much in FIGURE A, while at FIGURE B it is less. The figure B will experience less effect on the event of encountering an obstruction on the road than Figure A.
BENT CORNERS SHOULD BE PASSED WITH LESS SPEED
Though this is an advice to the drivers particularly to always pass through a bent corner with low speed considering the length of the tank and its truck a good space will be needed for it to turn at bent corners properly. Some fallen tanks had been discovered that they are trying to divert in a particular direction with high speed and due to the effect coming from the angular velocity in loaded tanks the truck was swigged into a nearby bush which causes the whole body to fall inside any bush near the road.
THE HIGHEST TILTING DEGREE SHOULD BE DETERMINED AND THE METER ATTACHED TO AREA VISIBLE TO THE DRIVER
After building the tank according to design in FIGURE B and attaching it to the truck the next thing that is very important is to conduct a tilting test on the whole of the vehicle and determine the highest degree of tilt that the truck and tank can collapse, when it is done attach a tilting meter at the body of the truck at a visible location to the driver. if there is a digital device to assist in this such as inclinometer and any other available then fix it at the front of the vehicle at the driver’s desk where other meters are, but in a situation where such device is not accessible than using a pointer fixed at a point to swing Freeling like a pendulum bob will help to determine the tilting angles of the vehicle at any moment. Consider the diagram below:
Considering Figure C, at the place the pointer is facing they are calibrated with different ranges of degrees, such that any tilting of the tank causes the pointer to indicate the degree.