The fuel system of an aircraft is paramount for its standard operation, ensuring that fuel is pressurized, transferred, mixed with air, and optimally combusted for the means of thrust generation. While the makeup of a fuel system may vary depending upon the size, shape, and application of a particular aircraft, there are some common components and elements that may be found in most types. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the primary fuel system components found in most aircraft, allowing you to better understand their functionalities and uses.
The fuel tanks of aircraft are one of the most important parts of the entire fuel system, ensuring that fuel can be stored and used throughout a flight. Fuel tanks are typically fitted above or below the wing, relying on either gravity feed systems or pumps and fuel injection systems to relay fuel to the engine. Depending on the aircraft, the three basic fuel tank types include the rigid removable, bladder, and integral fuel tank.
Outside of gravity feed systems, pump components are crucial for the means of transferring fuel between the tank and the fuel metering system of each engine. Auxiliary fuel pump components are common to many aircraft, used to provide fuel to an engine fuel system pump under positive pressure. While a majority of aircraft fuel pump components are electrically powered, some may be hand-operated if the aircraft is much older.
While tanks and pumps serve to store and move fuel respectively, the fuel lines are the assembly parts that fluids will move through when being transferred between components. Depending upon the application and the characteristics of a space, such parts may either be rigid or flexible. When rigid, fuel lines are commonly constructed with aluminum alloy, coupled with AN or MS rated fittings. For flexible fuel hoses, on the other hand, synthetic rubber interiors, reinforced fiber braid wraps, and a synthetic exterior are used to provide flexibility and strength. Flexible hoses are most beneficial for areas of vibration, such as around engine fuel system components.
In order to manage fuel flow and to route fuel between locations, valves are implemented throughout the system. For light aircraft fuel systems in particular, the selector valve may be the sole valve component which is charged with both selection and shutoff operations. Larger fuel systems, on the other hand, may feature a variety of valves that each have a different name and role in overall operations. Generally, fuel valves are either manually operated, solenoid operated, or operated with the use of an electric motor.
As fuel may gather contaminants as it moves through the entire airframe fuel system, it is important that there are filtration elements in place to remove any foreign objects that may damage the engine or disrupt efficient operations. Fuel strainers in particular are typically constructed with coarse wire mesh, ensuring that larger objects are trapped while liquids continue to flow. Filters are finer in their mesh design, capable of trapping extremely small objects and water.
Beyond such common examples, other fuel systems may have indicators, heaters, and other parts that increase the efficiency of engine operations for the benefit of flying. At Aerospace Sphere, we are a premier supplier of aviation, NSN, and electronic parts that cater to a diverse set of applications and industries. To receive quotes for your comparisons, we ask that you fill out and submit an RFQ form at your earliest convenience and a dedicated account manager will be in touch within 15 minutes or less. Initiate the purchasing process today and experience why customers across the globe steadily rely on Aerospace Sphere for all their part needs.
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