Everything You Need to Know About Aircraft Fuel Systems

Aircraft are advanced and complex machines, featuring a wide variety of systems and components that make safe and efficient flight operations possible. One of the most essential elements of a typical aircraft is the fuel system which is tasked with delivering a consistent flow of fuel to the engines for combustion. In order for a fuel system to optimally function, it must be able to uphold a set flow rate and pressure as fuel is drawn from tanks. In this blog, we will discuss aircraft fuel systems in more detail, allowing you to have a better grasp on their common parts, features, and functions.

The fuel tank is the first section of the aircraft fuel system, acting as the space where all fuel is stored. Due to the flammable and hazardous nature of fuel, fuel tanks are designed to withstand vibration, aerodynamic forces, heat, cold, inertial loads, and lightning strikes. All in all, fuel tanks must be able to undertake the most stressful conditions that may be faced during flight while avoiding any deformation, corrosion, or similar damage.

As contaminated fuel can quickly lead to a number of issues ranging from performance losses to part deterioration, fuel tanks are also completely sealed. As a last form of protection, fuel tanks are separated from personnel compartments with a fume and fire-proof enclosure to further safety for all on board. Across aircraft, there are a number of fuel tank types that may be found, common options including integral, rigid, and bladder variations.

In terms of the fuel system sections that transfer fuel from the tank, there are a few options that may be present. One common type is the gravity feed fuel system that relies on the forces of gravity to transfer fuel from the tank to the engine. Oftentimes, these are found in light aircraft with high-wing designs as the engines are generally placed below fuel tanks to make gravity suitable for pumping.

The other major type is the fuel injection system, and these options feature a set of parts that rely on an electric pump to pressurize and move fuel from a tank to an engine. Before entering the engine, fuel will be passed through a set of nozzles that spray the fuel into an engine intake or cylinder. Typically, fuel injection systems may be found on many new aircraft of all types.

Aside from the tanks and major fuel system parts, fuel selector valves, strainers, sumps, drainage components, quantity gauges, and other such items are all often necessary for standard operations to be carried out with ease. With parts like strainers and sumps, fuel can be kept clean and free of any debris that may cause issues. With gauges, operational conditions like pressure, quantity, and temperature may be monitored for safety and efficiency. As such, one can see how all parts work together to support standard flight operations. If you find yourself in need of various aircraft fuel system products, look no further than ASAP Fasteners for your needs.

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