The science of condensation...
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  1. #1
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home fox river pwc's Avatar
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    The science of condensation...

    Condensation Reality.

    The perceived problem of condensation forming in fuel tanks over winter is a myth. The science to prove this is readily available. Here is the cliff notes version.

    A 200-gallon tank at 50F, when empty of fuel, can AT MOST contain 0.46oz of water vapor within its air. This means that if you drain and winterize your 5-gallon jet ski tank, on a 50F day, the absolute most condensation that could possibly accumulate in the tank, IF conditions for precipitation were perfect during storage – AND the air within the tank at the point of draining was at nearly 100% humidity (which it wasn’t and won’t ever be) – would mean that the absolute most condensation you could collect in your jet ski tank is 0.0115 ounces. That is 0.069 of a teaspoon. That is 1/15th of a teaspoon. That is 6.5 DROPS of condensation. That is with figuring perfect conditions to produce the maximum volume of condensation possible.

    Because the air in the tank you are draining on the cool day when you are winterizing your jet ski is not anywhere near 100% humidity, this means that you will only be able to produce a fraction of the 6.5 drops of condensation specified here under ideal conditions.

    Also remember that the air in your jet ski fuel tank is not being exchanged with the atmosphere during storage, assuming you screw the gas cap back on after you drain it. This means that the potential condensation production within that tank is a fixed volume on the day that you drain it.

    Now, regarding metal fuel tanks, such as many motorcycles and outboard boats have, brimming the fuel tanks to prevent rust from forming inside the tank during storage makes sense.

    And the final side note is based on understanding what fuel does to any plastic container over time. At best, the fuel will stain the plastic. At worst, the fuel will slowly degrade the plastic and make it more brittle than it would otherwise be. Ask yourself this question. If you were to have a spare jet ski gas tank in your parts hoard, just in case (I have many, LOL), what is the best way to store it in order to keep in the best condition possible for future use – full of fuel or full of air? Therefore, to keep all of your jet ski fuel tanks in the best condition possible for future use, how should you store them during times of non-use?

    Happy upper midwest winterizing everyone...I'll get that done next month
    The attached picture here was taken on 12/26/2015...best my knees have felt in years...
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  2. #2
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home WFO Speedracer's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    Okay , you know me and I like to throw a monkeywrench into the mix, what you have stated may be true with non ethanol fuel, however with 10 % ethanol adding into the mix and the fact that ethanol draws moisture directly from the air it would not be true. My limited understanding of condensation is that it occurs on the tank walls that are not in contact with fuel, therefore the recommendation to fill the tank completely up or drain it completely dry before storage, that being said in the climate I am in I never do either just add stabil to the tank and run it through the system. in 25 + years of winterizing skis I have never had an issue.
    Last edited by WFO Speedracer; 10-10-2021 at 10:49 AM.
    Y'all know me, still the same O.G. but I been low-key
    hated on by most these &^$$@s with no cheese, no deals and no G's, no wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis, mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries

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  3. #3
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home fox river pwc's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    LOL
    I have absolutely no idea how a tank that is EMPTY of all fuel warrants discussing ethanol-infected fuel versus whatever, but I will try to help here.

    Where do you think the condensation INSIDE a closed fuel tank comes from?
    Hint: It comes from the air within the tank, and the calculations here are based on how much water vapor that air can potentially hold - which then translates to how much potential condensation can accumulate INSIDE that fuel tank.

    The calculations aren't "may be" true, they are true, as they are based on the volume of air inside an empty fuel tank and how much moisture that air can hold.

    I think your monkey wrench hit you in the head .

    Furthermore, ethanol-infected fuel doesn't create moisture or condensation...it simply absorbs it, IF it exists where it is located. However, again, as this discussion is based on an EMPTY fuel tank, with NO fuel of any kind inside of it, and how storing an empty tank and then expecting to find significant condensation accumulation inside of it come spring time, is factually silly, I'm still not sure how this provoked any of this additional commentary.

    But I will add, storing any gas powered machine, with ANY amount of ethanol-infected fuel still in it, and then expecting/planning to attempt to run that fuel months/years later, is at best a very risky concept.


    The basic premise here is that people have told me, "I always brim my fuel tank prior to storage, so I don't accumulate condensation inside it it while my ski sits..." But the reality is that the potential volume of condensation that COULD collect, inside of a closed fuel tank, is so ridiculously small that the brimming thing is pointless - and I would argue that any plastic fuel tank will only live LONGER when it spends less time holding fuel and more time holding air.

    And if fuel tanks were truly capable of accumulating dangerous amounts of condensation over time, then someone needs to explain my empty fuel jugs sitting around my non-temp controlled garages that remain perfectly dry inside


    But whatever....you are still currently free to put whatever amount of whatever liquid you so desire in your fuel tanks during storage. All I'm saying is, if you leave them empty, and the cap on tight, so the air inside the tank isn't being exchanged with the atmosphere...then you're not ever going to accumulate any significant volume of condensation...at least not on planet Earth.
    Last edited by fox river pwc; 10-10-2021 at 12:08 PM.


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  4. #4
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home WFO Speedracer's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    Ok hold up condensation does not happen in empty tanks with no fuel inside, condensation is caused by a temperature variance between air on the outside of the tank as compared to the inside of the tank. My understanding is it happens in gas tanks that are partially full , because gasoline is relatively slow to heat up it keeps the inside of the fuel tank cooler than the outside air, water condenses on the inside of the tank walls and slides down the tank just like condensation on the inside of a glass. On plastic fuel tanks have way more insulating qualities than a steel fuel tank and the problem is not as prevalent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V83JR2IoI8k
    Last edited by WFO Speedracer; 10-11-2021 at 09:42 AM.
    Y'all know me, still the same O.G. but I been low-key
    hated on by most these &^$$@s with no cheese, no deals and no G's, no wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis, mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries

    WWSRD , What would Speed Racer do ?

  5. #5
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home fox river pwc's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    Quote Originally Posted by WFO Speedracer View Post
    Ok hold up condensation does not happen in empty tanks with no fuel inside, condensation is caused by a temperature variance between air on the outside of the tank as compared to the inside of the tank. My understanding is it happens in gas tanks that are partially full , because gasoline is relatively slow to heat up it keeps the inside of the fuel tank cooler than the outside air, water condenses on the inside of the tank walls and slides down the tank just like condensation on the inside of a glass. On plastic fuel tanks have way more insulating qualities than a steel fuel tank and the problem is not as prevalent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V83JR2IoI8k
    Technically, not correct, with regard to empty tanks.
    Condensation happens wherever the conditions for condensation are present. If you stick humid enough air into an empty tank and then create enough temp variance quickly enough, you could create condensation inside the tank...but the odds are slim, and as I explained above...a 5 gal tank, at most, could produce 6.5 drops of condensation. (And to reiterate, from a completely practical standpoint, since you're not filling your tank with incredibly humid air in the first place, and you're going to struggle to create ideal conditions for condensation in the first place, you'd probably be lucky to be able to produce 1 or 2 drops of condensation anyhow.)

    Regardless, the whole point of my post is addressing the fact that some people believe that they NEED to brim their fuel tanks for storage OR ELSE so much condensation will form in their empty tanks that it will cause issues. I was addressing this myth with reality.

    Yes, the conditions of a completely empty tank versus a partially full tank are not identical, as the liquid fuel will resist temperature change more than air, and the conditions of plastic versus metal are not identical, due to how those two materials transfer heat differently, but that's sort of besides the point being made here. I guess I should clarify. Whether you brim your fuel tank for winter storage because you believe your completely empty fuel tank will accumulate enough condensation to cause issues, or if you believe your partially filled fuel tank will accumulate enough condensation to cause issue - whichever one is your reasoning = you are brimming your fuel tank unnecessarily based on a false myth...just sayin', and science is also just sayin'
    Last edited by fox river pwc; 10-11-2021 at 10:49 AM.


    WHEN IN DOUBT, GAS IT!

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  6. #6
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home fox river pwc's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    So at least it appears that we are in agreement about the false necessity of brimming a fuel tank for winter storage, LOL...

    Well, at least plastic...
    Last edited by fox river pwc; 10-11-2021 at 11:00 AM.


    WHEN IN DOUBT, GAS IT!

    Yeah, I'm an @sshole, but I'm not a complete @sshole.

    http://badgerlandjetpilots.com/

    I don't come here to make enemies - only to identify them...

  7. #7
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home fox river pwc's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    But the thing here I never bothered considering is the potential condensation accumulation of a completely empty fuel tank versus a partially filled tank...probably cuz I've been storing 99% of my jet ski tanks completely empty for 31 years now...without condensation issues.

    But I do sometimes leave a bit of fuel in maybe one of them. For the past probably 15-20 years, I will use up my remaining avgas premix for winterizing - as avgas is more stable than stabilized pump gas and I've literally never seen it varnish anything, even after 5+ years. Anyhow, after emptying the fuel tank of the ski/jet boat I'm winterizing, I will dump in 2 gallons of avgas premix. I will then run the motor just long enough, on RES and ON, to fill the fuel lines and carb(s) with the avgas, then do all my fogging, etc...while I'm siphoning the remaining avgas back out to use on the next machine to be winterized. Some years, if I have avgas left over that I won't burn up over winter in my snowblower anyhow, I will just leave a gallon or so in the last machine I winterize.


    I have a killer set of siphon hoses
    We make these braided silicone hoses with stainless steel fittings molded in the the ends where I work. Hose stays completely flexible, zero coil memory forever, so they snake down easily into any tank, and the stainless fitting on the end makes a beautiful clunk sound when it hits the bottom - makes siphoning a breeze.
    Last edited by fox river pwc; 10-11-2021 at 11:18 AM.


    WHEN IN DOUBT, GAS IT!

    Yeah, I'm an @sshole, but I'm not a complete @sshole.

    http://badgerlandjetpilots.com/

    I don't come here to make enemies - only to identify them...

  8. #8
    Top Dog JC-SuperJet's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    Don't Sweat the Condensation ; )

  9. #9
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home fox river pwc's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    Too late.
    Bwaaaaahahahaha!!


    WHEN IN DOUBT, GAS IT!

    Yeah, I'm an @sshole, but I'm not a complete @sshole.

    http://badgerlandjetpilots.com/

    I don't come here to make enemies - only to identify them...

  10. #10
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home WFO Speedracer's Avatar
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    Re: The science of condensation...

    Ok I will throw in one more thing, go ahead and fill your tank up now, while you can afford it , at the rate creepy Joe is screwing stuff up that may be the only gas you can afford next year peace out !
    Last edited by WFO Speedracer; 10-11-2021 at 07:51 PM.
    Y'all know me, still the same O.G. but I been low-key
    hated on by most these &^$$@s with no cheese, no deals and no G's, no wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis, mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries

    WWSRD , What would Speed Racer do ?

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