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Part 2-1. Aircraft Fuel System Simulation in FloMASTER - Basic Simulations


The fuel systems on modern multi-engine aircraft must function flawlessly for many different operational scenarios
and must be designed to conform to very strict functional specifications as required by the FAA. These
requirements as related to this paper as laid out in the CFR 10 specification include:
  • Each system must provide an uninterrupted flow of contaminant free fuel regardless of the aircraft’s attitude.
  • The fuel load can be a significant portion of the aircraft’s weight and varying fuel loads and shifts in weight during maneuvers must not negatively affect control of the aircraft in flight.
  • The fuel system must be constructed and arranged to ensure fuel flow at a rate and pressure established for proper engine and auxiliary power unit (APU) functioning under each likely operating condition. This includes any maneuver for which certification is requested and during which the engine or APU may be in operation.
  • Each fuel system for a turbine engine powered airplane must meet applicable fuel venting requirements.
  • Each fuel system for a multiengine airplane must be arranged so that, in at least one system configuration, the failure of any one component does not result in the loss of power of more than one engine or require immediate action by the pilot to prevent the loss of power of more than one engine.
  • If a single fuel tank (or series of fuel tanks interconnected to function as a single fuel tank) is used on a multiengine airplane, independent tank outlets for each engine, each incorporating a shut-off valve at the tank, must be provided.
  • Lines and any components from each tank outlet to each engine must be completely independent of each other.
  • The fuel tank must have at least two vents arranged to minimize the probability of both vents becoming obstructed simultaneously.
There are several other requirements that the system designer must consider as well but they do not directly relate
to the performance of the system which is the focus of this white paper. It is the intention of this paper to describe
the basic design aspects of an aircraft fuel system and how FloMASTER can be used to provide accurate insight
into the performance of the system. We will specifically looking at a typical ground refueling scenario. There will be
a series of follow up papers that will look at the more complex design considerations such as fuel tank inerting and
fuel system control strategies.

FloMASTER is a one dimensional computational fluid dynamics simulation tool that allows engineers to simulate
complex thermo-fluid problems at a system level, so that they can understand aspects of the design such as
pressure, temperatures, and flow rates though out the design. The designer can investigate both steady state and
transient behavior in their systems this white paper will look at examples of both. FloMASTER also has a host of
speciality solvers for both complex phenomenon like swirl and priming, or for making potentially repetitive tasks
simple such as performing a flow balancing analysis.