By Roy Langton, Chuck Clark, Martin Hewitt, Lonnie Richards
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Additional resources for Aircraft Fuel Systems (Aerospace Series (PEP))
Three highly signiﬁcant characteristics of today’s fuels are density (as it varies with temperature), vapor pressure and freeze point. The density variation means that an aircraft with full tanks at high temperature will have a signiﬁcantly lower range (and gross weight) than an aircraft with full tanks at low temperature because the energy stored in the fuel is a function of its Introduction 9 mass rather than its volume. This characteristic creates problems for the fuel quantity gauging system that must accommodate this variable either by widening the accuracy tolerance of the measurement system or by inferring density from dielectric constant or, preferably, measuring density directly thus compensating for this parameter in tank quantity computations.
Here for steady level ﬂight a pitchdown trim is required in steady state level ﬂight because the weight acts behind the lift force. Now if a pitch-up disturbance takes place the increase in lift from the wing tends to increase pitch attitude further which is clearly destabilizing. It is important therefore, to ensure that the fuel system must not have potential failure modes that would cause an unstable aircraft CG location. This is important in many of today’s aircraft designs with aft located fuel tanks for minimization of trim drag in cruise.
Fasteners associated with the wing structural assembly and penetrations for equipment and for access must be reliably sealed. Sealant materials must be compatible with the fuels to be used. 2 is a photograph of the inside of an integral fuel tank for a large commercial transport aircraft. The photograph shows internal equipment, speciﬁcally a spar-mounted transfer pump and piping associated with the ﬂuid mechanical function of the system. 2 Photograph of a typical integral wing tank (courtesy of Airbus).