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The Awesome Science Behind How Fuel Nozzles Know When Your Tank is Full

When it comes time to fuel up, gas stations have the technology in place to make sure that spills are kept at a minimum. The most obvious example of this is the system inside of a fuel pump nozzles that allows it to shut off automatically when the gas tank is full.

Now, a system like this might be one that we don’t think about all that often and why would we? After all, these luxuries have been around forever and they’re so simple that it could be easy to take them for granted.

Those with mechanically inclined minds among us, though, may wonder how exactly the system works and how the fuel pump knows when your tank is full and it’s time to stop pumping gas. Is some sort of wizardry in play, using magic to get the gas to stop flowing?

This time, thanks to Steve Mould, we learn exactly how it works and the processes rather genius. At first, our host assumes that there has to be some sort of electronic sensor inside that lets the pump know that the tank is full. However, that isn’t exactly the case.

Instead, with some incredibly complicated engineering, a few simple mechanisms are put in place to work together to make sure that your tank never ends up overflowing if all of the pieces are intact and doing their job properly. It’s pretty wild that someone went through the steps to create a mechanical product like this that requires nothing but the use of pressure created by a full gas tank to make it all come together.

In the video below, we get to learn how some basic components come together in an incredibly innovative way, using most of the physics to make sure that the fuel pump shuts off every time. After watching something like this, we can almost guarantee that you’ll never look at a fuel pump in the same way again.