Aircraft Engine Cooling systems

Aircraft Engine Cooling systems are designed to control and reduce the temperature of an engine, particularly, cylinder barrel heads. Without a cooling system, temperatures would rise to such high extremes that it would be unsafe to operate; engine failure would be unavoidable. There are two types of cooling systems that aircraft use today: air-cooling and liquid-cooling.

The concept of an air-cooled engine is simple— let the air flow over the engine to keep it cool. It has no need for coolant, radiator, hoses, or any other part that a liquid-cooled engine requires. They also utilize an engine cylinder design that incorporates cooling mechanisms around the engine; typically fins and vents. Some aircraft engines have complex systems that channel high-pressure air into the cooling fins. As the aircraft is flying, air is directed towards the engine to dissipate the heat. The fins draw heat away from the cylinders and radiate away the hot air through vents. Engines that are cooled by air have a harder time maintaining a constant operating temperature; this can affect its functionality during extremely cold climates, or intense heat conditions. These engines tend to warm up fast and don’t run the risk of having the coolant freeze, which is beneficial if you’re flying in frigid temperatures.  

Liquid vortex cooled engines utilize fluid to regulate engine temperature. This liquid is a combination of water, antifreeze, and rust inhibitors that are cooled using air, or a liquid coolant, which runs through a heat exchanger (radiator). This type of cooling comes with a weight penalty but is offset by the advantage of having total temperature control. A thermostat sits in between the engine and the radiator which maintains the temperature of the coolant. The thermostat also controls the flow of coolant into the radiator. After the coolant absorbs the heat from the engine, it gets transferred to the radiator, where it exchanges heat to be dissipated. The open and close mechanism of the thermostat allows the internal engine temperature to be regulated efficiently.

Some engines function with a hybrid design that use a liquid-cooling system mixed with air-cooling components. These systems tend to use smaller radiators combined with air cooled areas to dispel heat and maintain a lightweight configuration. There are advantages and disadvantages to using either system, or a combination of both, depending on the application.


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Aviation Replacement Parts

When someone needs to purchase an aircraft part, they cannot just walk into a building and buy what they need right off of the shelf. Aviation parts procurement is highly regulated and involves many steps and interactions between buyers and sellers. The process involves making a Request for Quote (RFQ), a Purchase Order (PO), order acknowledgment, shipping, invoicing, etc.

Even the well-known Boeing Co. uses an extremely complex web of suppliers. The reason being that the B787 Dreamliner has about 2.3 million parts in one aircraft and it’s not feasible to manufacture every single component. So, when something in an aircraft needs to be replaced— or an aircraft manufacturer needs a part— where do they find it? Well, they can get them from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), aftermarket parts manufacturers, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) businesses, or distributors.

OEMs produce the original equipment that is installed in an aircraft. Parts can be purchased through an OEM after the aircraft is purchased, but over the years, they may stop manufacturing the part. As a result, a vacancy is created in the market, which then leads to a competitive market of aftermarket spares and parts distribution.

When procuring a part, someone may also decide to go to a company that manufactures aftermarket parts— in aviation, these businesses receive a Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) from the FAA. This permits them to manufacture parts that have been tested and proven to meet FAA airworthiness standards; they also have to follow strict FAA regulations and procedures.

MROs are maintenance, repair, and overhaul businesses, so they keep a slew of parts commonly needed for repair in stock. On the other hand, distributors specifically source and stock parts to simplify the procurement process for aircraft operators. One of the many benefits of using a distributor, such as ASAP Semiconductor, is that you can locate parts that are difficult to find, there is value added, and pricing is competitive.

At Just NSN Parts, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft spare parts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@justnsnparts.com or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


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Aviation Industry

As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in society, new systems are being created to keep up. One of the systems that have been recently developed is the blockchain, and it is used to increase efficiency within financial transactions. Blockchain makes it easy to send, receive, store, and trade digital currencies; and is resistant to modification, making it more secure. It is a growing list of records, or blocks, that are linked using cryptography; every block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.

Companies can use the peer-to-peer network and manage cryptocurrency without the use of intermediaries. E-commerce is not a new concept and is used widely across many industries however, it is not widespread in the aerospace sector and only recently making any headway. Two of the organizations in aviation that are using and/or researching utilizing blockchain are the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Honeywell.

IATA is a trade association of the world’s airlines. IATA Settlement Systems enables the movement of funds between airlines and their travel partners. Because of this, IATA is experimenting with its own cryptocurrency called the IATA coin. This coin would be a supranational industry-wide currency and would enable airlines and their partners to do business using a single currency; making payments faster, cheaper, and more secure.

The Travel Grid— comparable to an app store— is one of the prominent aspects in IATA’s vision for using blockchain. This supports a token, smart contracts, and identity management. Some of the apps that will be used through this system are for frequent flyer points, identity apps, b2b smart contracts, and tracking apps for baggage, cargo, and spare parts.

Honeywell has unveiled one of its first blockchain initiatives for aircraft parts. GoDirect Trade is a new e-commerce initiative and it allows buyers and sellers to communicate directly. GoDirect Trade utilizes blockchain to verify that the quality documents and images match the part being offered for sale. Honeywell is a large company in aerospace, not only do they sell their own parts, they procure and distribute pre-owned certified parts through Honeywell Aerospace Trading (HAT). Some of their products are wheel and braking systems, engines, microelectronics, cockpit systems, sensors, weather radar, and satellite communications.

Aviation is a global market, which makes transactions more complex and expensive. Using a system, such as blockchain, can be a great asset to a company and can greatly increase its efficiency.

At Just NSN Parts, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aerospace parts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@justnsnparts.com or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


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Aircraft Engine Vibration

If you were to ask anyone in the aviation industry what can damage a plane, you’d get an entire laundry list ranging from faulty manufacturing to icing on the plane’s exterior to a bird getting sucked up into the engine. If you specifically asked an aircraft maintenance team, you’d probably get one word— vibrations. Jet engine vibrations can be extremely harmful if left unchecked. Parts that are not placed and secured in the jet aircraft engine properly can result in cracking, general metal fatigue, and engine failure.

Engine vibrations are usually caused by either rotor imbalances, worn-out parts, or both. If engine parts are improperly replaced, or if there is uneven weight distribution between moving parts, you’re almost certain to get engine vibrations. They can also be caused by damage from impact.

Test schedules are put into place and must be taken seriously. Aircraft engine manufacturers and the FAA will run tests, specify testing requirements, and set acceptable limits for engine vibration. These tests take place during routinely scheduled time frames, after a sudden impact event, or if there is an increase in levels of vibration.

Depending on the engine, vibration limits specified by the manufacturer may vary. Procedures to fix vibrations that are out of allowable limits are provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). These procedures, if done correctly, can help prevent whole engine change, resulting in lower costs.

The operator of the aircraft is ultimately the one responsible for ensuring aircraft safety and compliance to standards. Individual airlines may have their own maintenance team, or they can use maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) providers that specialize in maintenance operations.

MTI Instruments manufacturers tools used to measure precision balancing and vibrational analysis systems (PBS). Through technological advancements, MTI has been able to increase both precision and functionality, as well as create more compact and convenient products.


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Microrobtics

The most important thing about aviation is safety. A plane should not be in the air if the airliner has even the slightest doubts about its airworthiness. But, airliners want their aircraft in the air and making money, not in the hangar being maintained. Unfortunately, inspection and repair of jet engines is inherently difficult and due to small spaces and restricted access to internal aircraft engine components. To answer this problem, Rolls-Royce teamed up with the University of Nottingham to look into robotics as a part of a collaboration funded in part by Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute.

‘Reiner’ is a robotic probe that combines rotary, prismatic, and flexible joints to replicate the degree of freedom of hand-held tools to repair compressor blades in-situ. At the prototype demonstration, ‘Reiner’ displayed interchangeable tools and repaired an engine at a Rolls-Royce facility. And ‘Reiner’ is not alone. ‘Flare’ is a pair of flexible snake-robots that can travel through an engine like and endoscope and work together to carry out patch repairs for thermal barrier coatings. ‘Inspect’ is a network of pencil-sized periscope-like optical sensors that can inspect and report any maintenance requirements in the engine. The ‘Swarm’ is a set of 10 mm robots that can crawl through the engine with small cameras to perform rapid visual inspections in hard-to-reach areas still in the conceptual stages. Harvard University’s cockroach-like robot is the product of an eight-year long effort to miniaturize robots.

Actualizing the use of miniature robots to perform inspections and repairs in-situ can revolutionize aircraft engine maintenance to an unbelievable degree. Teams of specialists won’t have to fly around the world to do AOG repairs, local teams can insert robots for remote use instead. While researchers at Rolls-Royce, University of Nottingham, and Harvard University have yet to deliver finished products for widespread use, they’re close. And the future of aircraft maintenance has never looked brighter.


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