Whether an aircraft is a single-engine trainer or a large commercial airliner, all utilize a variety of systems to direct and manage the flow of fluids throughout internal assemblies. Fluid systems serve many important roles in aircraft, often being used to transport fuel for combustion, oil for lubrication and cooling, hydraulic fluids for power transfer, and much more. All of these unique systems consist of fluid lines, hoses, fittings, and connectors, all of which work together to ensure proper fluid transportation. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of aircraft fluid lines and fittings, allowing you to better understand their functionality and common types.
The fluid lines of various aircraft systems are often made from metal tubing or a flexible hose. Metal tubing, also known as rigid fluid lines, are relied on for stationary applications where fluids may traver areas in straight lines. With their various capabilities and resistances, rigid fluid lines primarily serve for the transportation of fuel, coolant, oil, and oxygen, while also protecting instruments and hydraulic lines.
There are many materials that may be used to construct such tubing, and common options include copper, aluminum alloy tubing, steel, and titanium. Aluminum is a popular material for many aircraft structures as a result of its high strength-to-weight ratio and cost. With its characteristics, aluminum alloy tubing primarily serves general purpose systems where pressures range between 1,000 and 1,5000 psi. These systems include hydraulic and pneumatic lines, as well as fuel and oil assemblies. For more intensive pressure areas, a material like steel is deficient for its ability to take on 3,000 psi or more. Alongside having ample corrosion resistance, steel tubing may be found in landing gear, flaps, brakes, fire zones, and much more. While titanium tubing boasts even more strength, such materials should not be used for oxygen systems as a result of their reactive properties.
Unlike rigid tubing made from metals, flexible hose lines are designed to have enough flexibility to be installed on moving parts or areas where there is a high amount of vibration. Due to the increased amount of wear and tear that flexible hose lines will face during standard operations, they will need to be repaired and replaced at an increased frequency. Replacing the tubing is fairly simple, but there may be instances in which parts need to be manufactured if there is no availability. In such instances, the manufactured hoses should be made to the same specifications with matching sizes and materials. Additionally, any new flexible hose installations should be pressure tested to guarantee optimal operations without the risk of bursts or cracks.
Flexible fluid lines are typically made from synthetic rubbers such as Buna-N, neoprene, butyl, and ethylene propylene diene rubber (EPDM). For petroleum fluids, Buna-N is a good choice with its resistances, but it fails when it is used for ester base hydraulic fluids. Meanwhile, a material like butyl works well with ester base hydraulic fluids, though it has no resistance against petroleum. As a result, one should always take the time to search for a good fit for their needs to ensure compatibility with systems and fluids.
The final important part of aircraft fluid systems are the fittings, and they are the parts that allow for fluid lines to be attached to one another or a system. There are many types of fittings that one may take advantage of, some being flared, flareless, swaged, or cyrofitted. Similar to fluid lines, fluid line fittings should always be chosen based on the fluid system in question and compatibility as one does not want to risk a failure, leak, or other such issues.
One Click Purchasing is a streamlined platform belonging to the ASAP Semiconductor family of websites, and we are your sourcing solution for fluid lines and fittings of the highest quality. With a strict NO CHINA SOURCING pledge, we guarantee that all items come from reputable manufacturers as well as ship out alongside their applicable qualifying certifications and manufacturing trace documentation. Additionally, countless items are subject to rigorous quality assurance testing, further guaranteeing their reliability and caliber. Experience the future of part procurement today when you connect with a One Click Purchasing team member who will help you through the sourcing process as necessary!
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