Having a robust fire protection and prevention system in place is important for any building, commercial or residential. Fires can do more harm than just to humans and animals; they can destroy personal belongings, damage or destroy buildings, and cost a lot in repairs. That is why automatic fire fighting methods in buildings are designed to put out fires before they have time to cause much damage, often before or immediately after combustion. In this blog, we will be discussing how fire systems and fire sprinklers work together to protect buildings, livelihoods, and all inbetween.
When flames appear during a fire, a situation can move from being minor to detrimental in a matter of minutes. When fighting fires, one of the first steps is always fire detection as we can’t be always be fully cognisant of every area at all times. To fight fires, water is often the best agent because it is often readily available in our piping systems and is an excellent cooling agent that can cut fire heat quickly with high heat absorption. This is where fire sprinklers come in, as they are connected to pipes and can spray water over an affected area, often putting out small fires with a single sprinkler in less than two minutes.
Fire sprinklers are heat activated, and often they will contain glycerin filled bulbs that, when exposed to heat, expand and shatter, activating the sprinkler as water begins spraying. Many sprinklers utilize this mechanical method, rather than an electric one, as it is safer and more reliable. Electronics can be knocked out during an incident, or even be the cause of the fire, thus making them not as dependable for fire systems. When fires break out, there is often only a need for a single sprinkler due to their efficiency. Even if sprinklers are not able to fully put out a flame, they can reduce heat, suppress smoke, and prevent fire spread so that evacuation is easier and the fire department can aid.
It is a common misconception that fire sprinklers are set off by smoke. If this was true, every time someone burnt toast or smoked a cigarette, they would be activated. That is the role of the smoke detector, which will also most often always be present, further warning and aiding in fire suppression. Sometimes, fire sprinklers and smoke detectors will be connected to control panels which may manage alarms, shut down electronics, etc.
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To successfully power a turbine engine and produce flight, an aircraft needs a combustion engine to mix air and fuel, as well as ignite it. From their inception, combustion chambers have been an evolving technology. Through the history of aviation, three main types of combustion chambers have been prominently used, including the can, cannular, and annular combustors. In this blog, we will give a short overview of how these combustors work to produce energy for an aircraft.
In simple terms, the combustion chamber works to raise the temperature of air that passes through the engine. Through the mixing and ignition of air and fuel, energy can be created in the form of hot gasses that are harnessed by the turbine section of the aircraft. This fuel and air mixture must also be mixed correctly, burned efficiently, as well as cooled before being brought to the vanes and aircraft turbine blades. The three types of combustion chambers all feature some type of casing, inner liner, fuel injection such as nozzles, method for ignition, and a method of draining the unused fuel.
Can-type combustors are fairly simple and easy to maintain, though are not the most widely used for aircraft such as the other types. Can combustors are comprised of cylindrical chambers that are separate from each other, each having their own casing, spark igniter plugs, and more. The air and fuel is fed to each can, where it is then mixed and ignited for energy. Some older engines have interconnected can combustors in which each can ignites the other until they are all burning.
Cannular combustors are similar to can and annular types as they consist of combustion zones that are connected to each other via a ring casing. Each can does not need to have it’s own spark plug, and ignition and air can be spread to each zone, aiding in a more uniform temperature profile. Cannular combustors are present on various modern turbojets and turbofans.
The last type is the annular combustor that does not feature isolated combustion zones, instead featuring a ring in which there is uniform combustion and temperatures upon exiting. Annular types are much lighter than the other two, and have low pressure drop. Annular type combustion chambers remain the most widely used chamber for aircraft.
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If you’re in the aviation industry, you may have heard the term “shroud.” The term alone refers to an object that obscures something from view. In the aeronautical industry, there are different types of shrouds that can be utilized for different functions, such as exhaust shrouds for carbon heat and cabin heat in light planes. But in this piece, we’ll discuss briefly the definition and functions of the most commonly used shroud in aircraft.
A shroud is often used as the informal name of certain aircraft parts, aircraft shroud parts. An access panel, for instance, is sometimes referred to as a shroud by pilots. An access panel’s main function is to work as the removable section of an enclosed structure, yet it is referred to as a shroud because of the way that it hides debris and other objects from view.
Head shroud is another term used frequently in aviation. An example of how a heat shroud is applied can be with an electric actuator. The heat shroud can be used around the actuator or the duct to create a separation between them and prevent the actuator from burning up. Other examples include a shroud panel over a mass of wiring and plumbing on an engine to protect it from heat, fluids, water, to smooth internal airflow, or just for looks.
A shroud on the outside of an airplane whose only function is to manage the airflow for drag reduction is a fairing. In engineering terms, a shroud is usually a non-structural protective panel, that isn't a fairing or access panel, that "hides" something either from view, from a heat source, some sort of internal flow disturbance, or some potential contaminating substance.
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Whether an aircraft’s cockpit utilizes a steam gauge or is a modern glass panel, the functionality and principles of the airspeed indicator mostly remains the same. Airspeed indicators are critical to the operation of a flight, enabling pilots to maintain safe operating speeds through speed measurements. In this article, we will discuss how airspeed indicators function and how readings are made.
Indicators are part of the aircraft pitot-static system and gauge airspeed through comparing dynamic and static pressures. Dynamic air pressure is received from the pitot tube of the aircraft, and static pressure comes from a static port which is usually located on the fuselage. Inside of the airspeed indicator case there is a sealed diaphragm which receives both pressures from the pitot tube.
Static pressure is important as atmospheric pressure decreases as the aircraft increases in elevation. Static pressure is also measured both inside the diaphragm and outside, and the two cancel each other out so only the dynamic pressure is left. The diaphragm expands as dynamic pressure increases with acceleration, and this is used to measure climbs in airspeed.
As with any aircraft instrument, reliability can be affected if the components become clogged or iced over. If one of the tubes is blocked, the measurement of dynamic and static air pressure may be inaccurate and lead to the plane either flying faster or slower than what is indicated on the airspeed indicator. There are some remedies and alternatives in place to prevent this, and pilots can either use heat to de-ice areas, or use alternative ports for measuring static pressure. Nevertheless, maintaining optimal and clear instruments is important for accurate measurement of speed.
Of the many aircraft parts, airspeed indicators are extremely important for safe and optimal flights. Airspeeds can help pilots operate in safe speeds in various sections of flight, and often an indicator may display these with a color coded system. They depict various speeds such as flap operating range, normal operating range, cautionary range, and maximum allowed speed. Through accurate readings, pilots can ensure smooth and safe operation during flight.
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For aircraft construction, bearings and seals are almost always utilized in rotating or rolling components. Bearings are utilized to constrain movement to specific motions and axes, and work to reduce the friction between moving components. Bearings can also work to disperse stress of the component loads. Seals on the other hand, help prevent contamination, such as dirt, from entering the bearing gaps, as well as encases bearing lubricant inside. So what are some examples of the types of bearings and seals that can be used?
The most basic type of bearing is called the plain, or sliding bearing. It contains no rolling elements and can simply be two flat surfaces that allow for motion, such as a drawer. Plain bearings function as the shaft in contact with the bearing, or the journal, slides over the surface of the bearing and rotates. These types of bearings prove to be the least expensive type, as well as have high carrying capacity for loads.
Another popularly used bearing type is the rolling element bearing, or anti-friction bearing. These bearings come in two types: ball and rolling bearings. Ball bearings use solid spheres that rotate quickly on inner and outer races and are used for moderate to heavy load applications. The contact between the ball and race causes sliding motion, and the opposing forces can cause bearing drag. Rolling bearings typically have two rings with the rolling elements inside the tracks. With this method, the outer load is constantly re-distributed amongst the outer rollers.
Seals come in a few different types as well, depending on the needs and application. Non-rubbing seals are a type that has zero friction outside of the lubricant that is used. Rubbing seals, though, require contact to correctly function. Gap seals help to close the gap within bearings and labyrinth are a similar type which provides more closure to gaps. No matter the seal used, they all function to protect and aid the functionality of bearings.
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Turbojet engines are truly fascinating pieces of machinery. An array of tiny, individual pieces combine to form something greater than the sum of its parts. While it would be irresponsible to imply that they are simple machines, when you break down a turbojet engine, they are surprisingly easy to understand. Turbojet engines consist of just five primary components. These are the intake, compressor, combustion chamber, turbine, and exhaust.
Air enters through the intake and is funnelled back towards the compressor. Once there, the air is heated and compressed. From here, the air passes into the combustion chamber where, once mixed with fuel, it ignites. This burning fuel creates energy through the heat and expansion of the air. The energy required to power the compressor is removed from the exhaust stream by the turbine. The turbine has sharp discs that rapidly spin as hot gases leave the combustor. The rest of the energy from the exhaust is used to create thrust, which in turn is enhanced by the exhaust nozzle. As the exhaust gas exits via the nozzle, it is accelerated as it expands, therefore providing the propelling force necessary to move the plan forward.
The basic way an aircraft jet engine works is through the hyper-acceleration of small amounts of air to high speeds. Optimum efficiency of these engines cannot be reached until the speed of the accelerated air roughly matches that of the aircraft. Therefore, turbojet engines do not reach their peak operating ability until speeds around mach 2, over 1500 mph.
While the main components of turbojet engines are relatively simple, each component is made of many individual parts. At ASAP Part Services, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the unique parts for various jet engine components as well as parts for the civil aviation and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at email@example.com or call us at 1-702-919-1616.
How does an aircraft maintain stability? What instruments and equipment are crucial for performing a controlled flight? These questions can be answered with a few pieces of technological equipment: the pitot-static system, airspeed indicator, and vertical speed indicator. These components are capable of providing the aircraft airspeed, altitude, and Mach number of a plane in flight, and relay this information to the pilots in the cockpit. Each one contributes to the overall safety and proper functioning of an aircraft.
An aircraft’s pitot-static system is comprised of a number of sensors which detect the ambient air pressure by the forward motion of the plane. This includes the air pressure that is affected (pitot pressure) and the air pressure that is unaffected (static pressure). The pressure is used on its own, or in combination with each other, to provide indications of various flight measurements including altitude, airspeed, Mach number, and vertical speed.
Pitot pressure is measured in a pitot tube; this open facing tube is positioned along the axis of the aircraft. The pressure measured in the tube is a combination of static pressure and pressure from the aircraft’s forward movement. Commercial aircraft are installed with at least two independent pitot systems to ensure redundancy in case of a malfunction. Pitot pressure differs from static pressure in that static pressure is measured through a number of vents as opposed to a tube. The vents that measure static pressure are situated aerodynamically at neutral points on the fuselage. Vents are positioned on either side and feed into a common tube; this cancels out any errors arising from the positioning of the vents. Most commercial aircraft have at least two independent static systems to provide redundancy, similar to pitot pressure. An airspeed indicator is what compares the pitot and static pressure systems to determine the aircraft’s travelling speed.
An airspeed indicator typically measures the rate of travel in knots, or nautical miles per hour. In a simple indicator design, pitot pressure is fed into a barometric capsule which is located in a sealed container that is fed with static pressure. One end of the capsule is fixed while the other end is connected to the instrument pointer by a suitable system. The speed that is displayed on the indicator is the indicated airspeed. This is the speed of the aircraft relative to the body of air which it is flying through. This device is a bit different from a vertical speed indicator.
A vertical speed indicator is an instrument which indicates the rate of climb or descent or an aircraft, or altitude. Similar to an airspeed indicator, a barometric capsule is contained in a sealed case. The capsule is then fed with static pressure from the pitot-static system, which is installed with a calibrated nozzle. This nozzle restricts the passage of air so that there is a time delay between a change in static pressure. If the aircraft climbs or descends, the pressure within the capsule will increase or decrease, adjusting the altitude displayed.
For all their complexity, the principles that guide an aircraft’s design are fairly simple to understand. All aircraft, no matter how esoteric they may seem, are designed around three basic principles: lift, thrust, and control.
Lift is the force that, as the name implies, lifts the aircraft up and keeps it in the air. Lift must exceed the combined weight of the aircraft, passengers, fuel, and cargo. Lift is generated by the aircraft’s wings as they travel through the air and generate pressure beneath their lower surface, which pushes the aircraft up. Moving through the air creates drag however, so aircraft use a variety of ways to reduce their drag, such as having a smooth surface on their exterior and small vertical winglets on the tips of the wings. The wings attach to the sides of the fuselage, the main body of the aircraft where the crew, passengers, and cargo are placed.
Thrust is provided by the aircraft’s engines, which overcome drag and push the aircraft forward through the air. Engines take the form of either piston engines (similar to those in automobiles) that spin a connected propeller or compressed-air turbine engines.
The last major principle is control. Control of the aircraft is based on three different axes: pitch, roll, and yaw. Pitch is the level the aircraft’s nose is pointed at and determines if the aircraft is climbing or diving. Pitch is controlled by the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer, which is built into the aircraft’s tail at the back of the fuselage. Roll is the tilt of the wings to one way or the other, and is controlled by the ailerons, a pair of control surfaces that allow the aircraft to turn left or right. Lastly, yaw is when the aircraft’s nose (and therefore the direction it is travelling in) is pushed left or right, which is controlled by the vertical stabilizer in the tail’s trailing edge.
There are other control surfaces as well. Flaps are placed on the trailing edges of the wings and are used during takeoff and landing. By deploying the flaps, the shape of the wing is changed, increasing their lift and maintaining flight control during takeoff and landing. This is very useful during low-speed operations, such as takeoff and landing. Slats at the leading edge of the wing fulfill a similar role. Lastly, spoilers are built into the tops of the wings and are also used to alter the lift and drag properties of the wings and can be used to control roll as well.
With the increasing complexity of aircraft, the number of instrumentation systems in an aircraft is growing. Any instrumentation system helps the pilot fly the aircraft, be it with navigational information, or engine operating information.
All systems feature a back and forth relationship between a sensor and an indicator. Information is read by the sensor and is conveyed via an electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic system to the display. An analog system features both the sensor and the indicator. A pilot will need to interpret the data and make any necessary adjustments. Digital systems differ in that the display isn’t directly connected to the sensor. Digital data buses are increasingly used to manage the various electronic instrument systems in an aircraft. Wires share message carrying from many instruments by digitally encoding the signal for each. The various instruments can be classified in terms of the data they supply. Flight navigational instruments and engine instruments are two of the main classifications of instruments.
Flight instruments are located inside the cockpit of an aircraft and can be separated into two categories which are pitot-static and gyroscopic. A pitot static system utilizes the static air pressure and the dynamic pressure to the motion of the aircraft through the air. Airspeed indicators, vertical speed indicators, and altimeters are all analog systems that are connected to the pitot static system. Each of these devices rely on the pitot static system to intake air and duct it through various chambers. Without the pitot static system, these instruments would have no way to gauge changes in pressure levels in the aircraft. Three gyroscopic systems accompany the three pitot static systems in what is colloquially known as the 6-pack of instruments.
Aircraft engines are subject to numerous stresses that need to be constantly monitored by the pilot. The instruments in this category measure the operating parameters of an aircraft engine usually concerning the pressure, quantity, or temperature. Engine fuel levels and temperature are strong indicators of the health of the engine. It is no surprise therefore that various instruments such as an exhaust gas temperature gauge and oil and carburetor gauge are inserted in or around the engine.
To fully discuss the instrumentation parts and systems within an aircraft, the topic of digitization, particularly inside the cockpit, must be addressed. With advances in technology, aircraft are being fitted with glass cockpits rather than the analog instruments mentioned earlier. While this new system is praised for providing more accuracy and limiting the amount of information that a pilot must interpret, digital systems should be assessed in terms of the risk of an electrical fire.
Picture an aircraft: the wings, the tail, the cabin - visualize it flying overhead as it displays its prowess and heads for the open skies. Did the aircraft you imagined have straight wings? It is a common misconception that all aircraft wings that protrude straight out from the cabin, perpendicular from the plane itself. However, a swept wing is one that angles backwards from its root and points towards the tail of the aircraft.
Bernoulli’s principle of lift demonstrates how airflow over the top of a wing is faster than below. When an aircraft travels fast enough it can cause the airflow to become supersonic, which makes the air flow off the wing as opposed to sticking to it, lowering the amount of lift. This is called the critical Mach number. With straight wings, this speed is relatively low since all of the air flows over the wing. Swept wings utilize their shape to direct part of the airflow along the front edge of the wing, reducing the amount of air flowing over the wing. This ultimately increases the critical Mach number because less air is available to create a supersonic effect.
When a swept wing travels at high speeds, the airflow has a short amount of time to react to the oncoming force, which causes it to flow over the wing from front to back. At lower speeds, the air is able to react, and pushes the air across its length towards the wing tip. With increasing spanwise flow the boundary layers on the surface of the wing have a longer distance to travel, making them thicker and more susceptible to flow separation. The result is that wing components based towards the rear operate at increasingly higher angles of attack, creating a nose-up pressure on the aircraft. To combat this issue, a wing fence was added on the upper surface of the wing to direct the flow of air to the rear. Other modern solutions include adding leading edge slats and compound flaps. Fighter jets have added leading edge extensions that assist in maneuverability in high speed situations.
When designing high speed wings, engineers consider compressibility. This is the effect on a wing caused by passing through the speed barrier and entering different speeds. An aircraft can suffer negative effects of compressibility which leads to malfunctions. The next time you see a swept wing, consider its purpose and application.
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