While aircraft powered by electricity is the future that many engineers seek to obtain, most current models operate through the combustion of fuel and air mixtures. Whether using the combustion of fuel and air mixtures for powering propellers or to create thrust through increasing the velocity of exhaust gases, all internal combustion engines must vent their spent gases in the form of exhaust. The aircraft exhaust system can often vary depending upon the aircraft in question and the design of its engine, though there are a number of ways in which they can remain similar. In this blog, we will discuss some common design features of the aircraft exhaust system, allowing you to better understand how they are built and maintained.
In general, a majority of exhaust systems rely on stainless steel or plain mild steel pipes for the means of transporting exhaust gases. While mild steel can exhibit higher weights and may corrode easier than stainless steel, its economical price point and ease of welding make it an advantageous material for certain assemblies. Stainless steel is much lighter, though still exhibits high amounts of strength, corrosion resistance, and is non-magnetic. While capable of bending, the overall toughness of stainless steel can make drilling and welding more difficult. Despite this, most of their qualities make such materials perfect for aircraft exhaust systems. It is important that drilling is carried out carefully, however, and punch marks should be made prior to conducting slow drill procedures.
Rather than building a new exhaust system, it can often prove much easier to rebuild a factory build model. This can allow for an individual to adjust the tailpipe as necessary, ensuring that it acts as a jet exhaust with its positioning being adjusted to be parallel with the flow of air. When the muffler is adjusted for any reason, it is important that it does not cause excessive heat to be transferred to surrounding aircraft parts to avoid damage or other issues. If a standard stock exhaust is not available for modification, one can always build a new aircraft exhaust system as well.
When implementing various flanges and bends, it is important that care is taken in choosing the right flange types to minimize the risk of crack development. Flanges are often bolted to the engine near the exhaust studs, and common flange angles that are available for such applications include those with 45-degree, 90-degree, and u-bends. To bend flanges to required angles by oneself, the correct tools should be used to prevent a loss of part integrity. For reducing the risk of exhaust components cracking, slip and ball joints are both commonly added and can increase system reliability.
Two heat muffs are required for all installations, one being placed to heat the cabin while the other directs heated air to the carburetor. When hot air is not being transported through the heat muff, it is crucial that there is still a constant flow of air as such components can begin to melt over time without the presence of flow. Generally, heat can be transferred through the use of coiled springs and a heat-resistant flexible hose.
As aircraft exhaust systems may face corrosion and wear over time, it is important that the exhaust system is designed in such a way that preflight inspections can be carried out without the need for removing parts every time. This can also assist individuals when it comes time to carry out annual and 100-hour inspections so that all parts are well maintained for their airworthiness and reliability with ease. If you find yourself in need of various exhaust system parts and components for replacement or repair procedures, NSN Target can help you source all that you are in search of with competitive prices and rapid lead-times.
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