What Are Aircraft Air Induction Systems and Their Types?
For a vast majority of modern aircraft, the thrust required for forward momentum is created through the combustion of fuel-and-air mixtures within engines, allowing for exhaust to be created for driving systems and propulsion. The air that is compressed and mixed with fuel is drawn from the surrounding atmosphere, and aircraft utilize induction systems to properly route and mix oxygen with fuel. In this blog, we will discuss the air induction system in brief detail, allowing you to have a better understanding of how they work, and what types one may come across in their aviation career.
For a standard small aircraft, there are two types of induction systems that one may commonly find. The first is the carburetor system, and these are designed to mix fuel and air within the carburetor before the final mixture is routed into the intake manifold. The other major type is the fuel injection system, and these designs mix fuel and air before they are sent to each cylinder.
Beyond being separated into carburetor and fuel injection systems, both can further be classified by subtypes. For example, a carburetor system may either be a float-type or pressure-type, the latter rarely being found on smaller aircraft models. The main difference between these types of carburetors is that the pressure variation utilizes a fuel pump to relay fuel through the system under pressure. With the float-type carburetor system, air enters a filter before moving through a venturi, and the restricting shape of this component creates a low-pressure area. This results in the fuel being forced through a main fuel jet before fuel is mixed with the stream of air.
With a typical fuel injection system, such assemblies will consist of an engine-driven fuel pump, a fuel-air control unit, discharge nozzles, a fuel manifold, an auxiliary fuel pump, and fuel pressure/flow indicators. With the auxiliary fuel pump, fuel can be routed to the fuel-air control unit while under pressure, and this allows for the engine to start. From there, the engine-driven fuel pump will begin providing pressurized fuel from the tank to the control unit. The control unit itself can be understood as the stand-in for the carburetor as it utilizes mixture control settings to meter fuel for the fuel manifold throttle valve. As a last step, the fuel is then distributed to individual fuel discharge nozzles so that each cylinder intake port can have fuel-air mixtures injected.
In carburetor systems and other systems like it, it is important that enough heat is supplied to prevent any freezing that may cause losses in manifold pressure and other issues. In many cases, heat systems can be implemented to keep fuel warm as it is passed through various components, and pilots should ensure that all warning systems, instruments, and gauges are working correctly to maintain readings on conditions. If you find yourself in need of air induction system parts, heating components, or other various aviation products, look no further than Buy Aviation Parts.
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