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The flammability of the fuel vapors existing in an aircraft fuel tank ullage depends on numerous parameters and is difficult to measure. ASTM D1655 sets forth the specifications for aviation turbine fuels, but states only that these fuels shall consist of refined hydrocarbons derived from crude petroleum, natural gasoline, or blends thereof with synthetic hydrocarbons. Thus, jet fuels typically are mixtures of hundreds of compounds, controlled only by specifications such as the boiling point range, flashpoint, etc., leading to difficulty in determining the flammability hazard potential of these fuels as they exist in aircraft fuel tanks.

The Fire Safety Section's Fuel Flammability Program conducts experiments to determine the effects of several parameters, such as ambient temperature and pressure, oxygen concentration and mass loading on the fuel vapor concentrations residing in a fuel tank ullage. This data is then used to verify and improve upon the fuel air ratio calculator and other fuel flammability models to a point where these models will be able to accurately predict ullage concentrations existing during typical ground and flight operations. It is hoped that these tests will aid in further determining jet fuel flammability characteristics-knowledge that can be applied to promote the innovation of new fuel tank protection technologies.

Additional Information

For information contact:

Steve Summer
Phone: (609) 485-4138
Fax: (609) 485-5785