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Proceedings of Symposium on Energy Engineering in the 21<sup>st</sup> Century (SEE2000) Volume I-IV

ISSN:
1-56700-132-7 (Print)

TWA800 FUEL TANK COMBUSTION AND EXPLOSION MIXTURES

Floyd A. Wyczalek
FW Lilly Inc. 155 S. Williamsbury Road, Bloomfield Hills MI 48301 USA

Abstract

This project identified atmospheric conditions under which a Boeing model 747-131 fixed wing jet aircraft empty center wing tank (CWT), containing a residual fuel loading of 3 kg/m3, about 200 liters of aviation kerosene (JetA Athens refinery), could form hazardous air/fuel mixtures. The issues are limited to explosion safety concerns for certificated fixed wing jet aircraft in scheduled passenger service. It is certain a combustible mixture does not exist in a fuel tank containing Jet-A fuel at ambient temperatures below 38°C (100°F), the lean limit flash point (LFP) at sea level. Nevertheless, this study identified six unlikely, but possible critical conditions which may permit combustible mixtures to exist within jet aircraft fuel tanks. The scope is limited to concerns relating to fixed wing jet aircraft. It is further limited to a review of scientific literature from 1950 to present time, which defined the thermodynamic and minimum ignition properties of aviation gasoline and commercial jet fuels; and, comparison with new thermodynamic data for JetA Athens fuel, released by National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in December 1997 [1]. This paper demonstrates that USAF Wright Air Development Center and US Bureau of Mines published comprehensive evaluations of potential hazards relating to jet aircraft fuel tanks as early as 1952 [2].