AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, AND FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

What Is Fuel Contamination?

When owning and operating an aircraft, it is important that all elements and systems are well-maintained and serviced to prevent any undesirable issues that may detract from the health of an assembly or the performance of the aircraft as a whole. One issue that pilots may face in their life is fuel contamination that of which is a preventable issue that has various negative effects such as damaging fuel cells, fuel system components, filters, and more. Additionally, contamination can even lead to instrument failure or the blockage of fuel supply ports, spelling a major hazard for an aircraft in flight. As a result, it is very important that pilots and operators understand how fuel contamination occurs, as well as how it can be prevented.

One of the most common forms of contamination is water contamination that of which results from jet fuel’s natural tendency to absorb such fluids. Water may enter the fuel system in a variety of ways, even simply entering as a result of air humidity. Once becoming a liquid, accumulation will begin to occur at low points in the fuel system as fuel temperatures drop. As temperatures rise again, liquid will become suspended in the fuel and begin to be absorbed. If this is not noticed right away and/or treated in due time, fuel quality will be lost as microorganisms and bacteria form.

Microbial growth within fuel is highly problematic, though water contamination is not the sole source of such issues. When microbial growth ensues, bacteria and fungi will feast on fuel hydrocarbons, alkanes, and additives, decreasing its quality. Additionally, their feeding will create a byproduct that corrodes steel, aluminum, and even rubber. Furthermore, microbial growth will ruin fuel filters and instrumentation, further necessitating preventative measures. To best deter growth, operators should always remove any water present within the fuel system, and they may also take advantage of protective products as well.

Particulates and small substances are also detrimental to fuel systems, and these foreign materials include anything from dirt to sand that may be present in the atmosphere or around airports. Particles will often enter inlets and ports, making their way into fuel systems through fuel system lines. By using engine fuel filters, most particulates can be captured before they have a chance to wreak havoc. Nevertheless, operators should conduct regular inspections to ensure contamination is not occurring, and filters should be cleaned and replaced as necessary to avoid a clog.

As most forms of fuel contamination occur from open fuel lines and inlets, such areas should be protected as much as possible. For example, all openings should be covered during maintenance procedures to ensure that fluids, debris, or other contaminants do not enter the system. Additionally, any time that assemblies are opened, they should be inspected for potential foreign objects. As a final recommendation, the fuel strainer and other related components must be checked, cleaned, and serviced on a regular basis.

If you are in the market for fuel tank components, fuel strainer replacement parts, or other various fuel system items, we have you covered here on Stacked Hardware. Stacked Hardware is a leading purchasing platform belonging to the ASAP Semiconductor family of websites, and we present customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find products that have been sourced from thousands of leading global manufacturers that we trust. With our unwavering dedication to quality control and export compliance, we proudly conduct business with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, ensuring that customers always receive items of the highest caliber. If you would like to speak with a representative about your needs, give us a call or email at your earliest convenience! At Stacked Hardware, we are your strategic sourcing partner for all your operational requirements.



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