Deposits within the engine of an aircraft can occur as a result of many things, often being due to the concentration of fuel and standard operations. As deposits build up, they can cause a number of issues in a variety of systems and components. Because of this, it is important that one amply understands how deposits form, what the most affected areas are, and how to combat such issues for the health of the fuel system and engine alike.
When fuel deposits begin to form within fuel injector components, fuel delivery will become restricted. This will lead to more lean operations, potentially resulting in lean misfires, a lower fuel economy, increased emissions, rough idle performance, and more. Detonation and pre-ignition is also a concern within such components when faced with deposits. As fuel vapors rise up through the intake manifold during operations, deposits will form within the throttle body and reduce the amount of air that flows through the idle bypass circuit.
Another common area for deposits to form is on intake valves, restricting airflow that moves through intake ports. Acting as a sponge, such deposits may soak up fuel spray from injectors and will cause a loss of high-speed power. Similar to fuel injector deposits, intake valve deposits will increase lean fuel conditions. Oftentimes, build up is increased when valve guides and seal components are worn out.
The combustion chamber is a common area for deposits to form, some of which may extend to the top of the pistons. When such deposits form, the engine compression ratio and fuel octane requirements will both rise. With a high amount of compression and a low octane rating, spark knock detonation may occur, eventually damaging posting rings, the head gasket, rod bearings, and other such aerospace components. While the knock sensor of the assembly can slow down spark timing, fuel consumption and emissions will still increase. Buildups within the combustion chamber can also lead to the formation of hotspots, those of which may cause pre-ignition. As pre-ignition sharply raises combustion pressure, it leads to the potential chance of a hole being burned through the top of a piston.
Depending on the type of engine and the fuel that is being used, there are a few ways in which the formation of deposits can be prevented. One method is to use a detergent-dispersant, that of which can maintain the cleanliness of the intake manifold and ports. Various additives may also be used for the cleaning of injectors and valves, sometimes even assisting in the removal of combustion chamber deposits. Top-quality fuels are another option, those of which may decrease the buildup of deposits over time to ensure increased health.
For the removal of deposit buildups, one may simply clean the engine and related fuel system components during maintenance. While such procedures can be time-consuming, the removal of deposits through such methods can be much more effective. Nevertheless, it is important to ensure that ample cleaning is carried out while avoiding accidental damage to sensitive components.
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