What are Aircraft Fuel Additives?

Additives are commonly added to many fuel types to mitigate harmful deposits that can settle within an engine. Often included to improve fuel and aircraft performance, there are a myriad of additives that can be added to jet fuel to benefit particular aircraft. With close to a dozen potential additives to choose from including corrosion inhibitors, static dissipators, anti-oxidants, fuel system icing inhibitors (FSII), biocide, and more, there are only two that primarily need to be considered for jet fuel. As jet engines require fuel capable of reaching certain performance requirements, additives must be applied during fueling to further prolong engine longevity and reduce engine deposits.

As jet engines require fuel with optimal combustion characteristics and high energy output, airliners within the United States rely on jet fuel derived from kerosine for many of their gas turbine engines. Composed of three primary fuel grades (Jet A, JET A-1, Jet B) for jet aircraft, beside Jet B fuel, both JET A-1 and Jet A fuels are restricted to use in Europe and North America respectively. Mainly utilizing fuel type JET A-1 for international civil aviation, Jet A fuel in particular is primarily only available in North America as per the United States ASTM Specifications for Aviation Turbine Fuels D 1655. Despite the similarity in jet engine models, each type requires specific additives to be included within a fuel mixture to prevent bacteria growth and ice accumulations.

As not all jet fuel additives can be applied to all aircraft, depending on whether an aircraft is for civil or military use, only pre-approved additives can be used to maintain aircraft safety. Common types of jet fuel additives used are tetra-ethyl lead, antioxidants (gum inhibitors), metal deactivators, corrosion inhibitors, fuel system icing inhibitors, and static dissipator additives. Of these types of additives, fuel system icing inhibitors (FSII) play one of the largest roles in promoting engine safety.

Ultimately containing some amount of water, whether it was introduced into the system during the refining process, contamination, or condensation, water within an engine is susceptible to freezing when exposed to subzero temperatures in flight. While most modern jets come constructed with fuel heaters to mitigate any ice formations within an engine, many do not. To combat this issue, additives like FSII are added to fuel, dramatically reducing in-flight malfunctions contributed by blocked nozzles, clogged fuel lines, and clogged fuel filters.

In variation of traditional methods, aircraft jet engines also use pre-blended additives. Though not as widely used of a method and primarily only utilized by non-commercial aircraft, pre-blended additive and fuel mixtures are on the incline for their significant cost savings and ease of convenience. Coming premixed with additives in lieu of adding them to aircraft after fueling has been completed, though this method is not commercially recognized, it is currently in consideration for its capacity to keep fuel and injector systems clean, reduce emissions/exhaust, and improve fuel efficiency.

As different grades of aircraft fuel should not be mixed due to the nature of their added ingredients, when you are in need of a specific additive for your fuel applications, rest assured knowing that we at ASAP NSN Parts can easily help you find what you need. As a dependable distributor of engine oil, fuel tanks, fuel injectors, piston rings, head gaskets, rod bearings, intake valves, combustion chambers, carburetors, pumps, and other aircraft engine parts, we invite you to browse our inventory for numerous aerospace components and their applicable aparatusses. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


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