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Fuel Contamination Detection  
User currently offlineA320ajm From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 524 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3606 times:

Hi guys,
I have just sat my GCSE Chemistry exam and one of the questions was about fuel contamination in aircraft. It asked What is the substance that is added to fuel and will turn blue if there is any water contaminating the fuel?' I had no idea and i was wondering if anybody here knew.
Thanks
A320ajm


If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21107 posts, RR: 56
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3596 times:

Seems strange to add a chemical that would turn the fuel blue, since that would make it look like AVGAS (which is tinted blue whether there is water or not - any water in the sample will collect at the bottom of the sampling jar, and will be fairly easily visible).

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineA320ajm From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 524 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3591 times:

Well, i am just saying what the question said. Maybe it meant a solid that turns blue?
Thanks
A320ajm



If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31576 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3586 times:

Aquadisc power turns pink to red depending on the PPM of water present in the Fuel sample tested.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3556 times:

Interesting. It would have to be a water soluble dye that does not dissolve in jet fuel. I found a fuel contamination test kit called the Aqua Glo which uses dye for this purpose.

User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3547 times:

I have heard of dyes to test for ethanol in MOGAS (to be used in airplanes), but that's about it.

In my case, fuel contamination detection is done by visually looking at a fuel tester and seeing where the fuel/water separation "meniscus" occurs. As an added safeguard, I own a fuel tester that came with a float: it sinks to the bottom in pure 100LL, and floats on water and Jet A.


User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3532 times:

In jets the easiest way to find water is to sump the tanks and see if there is any water. No dyes needed.

User currently offlineTlfd29 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3526 times:

When we take fuel loads we fill a vacuum sealed vile with jet fuel. The vile has a powder in it that will turn purple if there is water present in the fuel. There have been times when a couple snow flakes have gotten in the bucket and then into the vile and that is enough to turn the sample purple. I'm not sure what the powder is but it works quite well and definately turns purple. Otherwise, it is very easy to detect slugs of water in the bottom of a sump bucket.

User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3139 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3514 times:

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 6):
In jets the easiest way to find water is to sump the tanks and see if there is any water. No dyes needed.

This can be difficult to do. Water and Jet-A are very close in density and it's possible that suspended water will mix in and be hard to see.

It is very easy to find particulate and dirt in the fuel though.

[Edited 2007-06-14 02:42:30]


DMI
User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3506 times:

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 8):
This can be difficult to do. Water and Jet-A are very close in density and it's possible that suspended water will mix in and be hard to see.

It is very easy to find particulate and dirt in the fuel though.

I've found water in fuel tanks several times by sumping them. Eventually that water will makes it's way to the bottom of the tank.

[Edited 2007-06-14 03:01:08]

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31576 posts, RR: 57
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3498 times:

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 9):
I've found water in fuel tanks several times by sumping them. Eventually that water will makes it's way to the bottom of the tank.

Heard an Interesting story on how a B737 parked in some African state near the Airport fence,had a Microbial corrosion issue in only One wing tank & not the other.Most Mx personnell could not explain how that occured.
Finally much later they discovered that Since the Aircraft was parked at the Perimeter fence of the Airport,part of the
Wing was accessable to the outside of the fence & civillians from the local population used to drain the ATF at night & use it.

So Regular Draining of Fuel tanks helps.  Smile
Thought I'd share that tale.

regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 25
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3475 times:

Quoting A320ajm (Thread starter):
What is the substance that is added to fuel and will turn blue if there is any water contaminating the fuel?' I had no idea and i was wondering if anybody here knew

PRIST is used to prevent some of the water contanimation. I just passed fuel systems class in my A&P Program last week. Blue colored fuel is 100LL. The dyes are for identification purposes only.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31576 posts, RR: 57
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3448 times:

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 11):
PRIST is used to prevent some of the water contanimation

Anti Microbial corrosion & Anti Fuel Icing.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3438 times:

Maybe you guys are thinking too hard, It could be PH indicator.




Whatd ya think??

Rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3435 times:

Old time corporate pilots had a more-or-less foolproof way to detect contamination with jet fuel.

The penny in the pail, routine.

A narrow white porcelin pail was carried in the airplane, along with a shiney penny.
Prior to fueling, about two quarts of fuel were dispensed into the pail, and the penny was dropped in...the date should be facing upwards.

If you could read CLEARLY the date and no sediment present...good to go.


Does this work?
Yep, sure does.


User currently offlineTlfd29 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3427 times:

Definitely not thinking about the pH scale. As for the penny test I think that may be a little off. The way I understood it was a quarter is dropped into the bottom of the bucket and if there is water present the quarter will make it ripple in the bottom of the bucket. Either way these "coin toss" QC methods don't seem to be very good indicators of fuel quality.

User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3420 times:

I still think that A320ajm is looking for the name of a water soluble blue dye that does not dissolve in jet fuel. Water can be entrained and all you'll see is sort of hazy looking fuel.



The sumps are not necessarily the absolutely lowest points in the fuel system or cover all places where water can become trapped inside a fuel tank. Ask the man who's done a 5 year wing tank inspection on a Falcon 20. That would be me.

If you guys take a look at the USPTO page and look up patent number 5,229,295 you''ll see that what A320ajm is looking for is probably methylene blue.

Here's the claim that's made:

Having described my invention with particularity, I claim:

1. A method for detecting the presence of water in fuels from a chemical color reaction comprising the steps of:

A. preparing a suspension of approximately 2% anhydrous sodium borate plus 0.1% methylene blue dye in mineral oil;

B. contacting said suspension with a sample of fuel to be tested;

C. reacting any water in said sample of fuel with said suspension to produce a color change; observing said color change if water is present in said fuel, wherein said fuels comprise liquid hydrocarbon fuel.


User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3417 times:

Ok so it might not be the PH scale, but remember its not going to be any of this complex aviation chemicals as GCSE papers, even the higher oness (like i done this week) only have questions which well if you dont know the answer can be figured out with a bit of thought, hence my answer of the PH scale/indicator.
Its going to be something fairly simple. Im guessing as its a one answer question A320AJM it was worth 1 mark? Also aviation isnt covered in the curriculum. It is used in forces sometimes but I've never seen it in chemistry.

rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlineBAe146QT From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 996 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3410 times:

Quoting Dougloid:
...probably methylene blue.

That stuff is used as a heavy-duty anti-fungal/anti bacterial/anti-everything in fish, (I keep koi). I believe it works on the same principle as chemotherapy, in that it kills the disease more quickly than it kills the host.

Anyway, the point is that (ironically) it's carcinogenic through extended skin exposure. So if it is used now, expect to see a ban in the not-too-distant future.



Todos mis dominós son totalmente pegajosos
User currently offlineGoingAround From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3399 times:

It was dehydrated Copper sulphate crystals  Wink

Just did the same paper as you!

All the best, (physics tomorrow?)

Alex


User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3389 times:

Quoting GoingAround (Reply 19):

What science course have you been entered for? At my school everyone is entered for modular and you do 2 tests, and each one has a bit of physics, bit of chemistry and a bit of biology. Do you not do that?

Rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 25
Reply 21, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3377 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 12):
Anti Microbial corrosion & Anti Fuel Icing.

Thats what I said.

And to add, you cannot 'detect' fuel contamination in the cockpit. Just have to sump some out to see if you have water in the tanks.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineGoingAround From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3375 times:

Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 20):

What science course have you been entered for? At my school everyone is entered for modular and you do 2 tests, and each one has a bit of physics, bit of chemistry and a bit of biology. Do you not do that?

I do triple science, so I do 2 pieces of coursework for each subject (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) as well as 2 modules for each, I then have 3, 1 1/2 hour papers on the separate subjects.

Alex


User currently offlineA320ajm From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 524 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3363 times:

Quoting GoingAround (Reply 19):
It was dehydrated Copper sulphate crystals

Just did the same paper as you!

All the best, (physics tomorrow?)

Alex

Yes, i do have physics tomorrow, all the best to you aswell. I obviously do the same course as you - we call it separate sciences or sometimes treble award. One of my friends put down your answer so i am assuming it is the right one.
Thanks
A320ajm



If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3348 times:

Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 18):
Quoting Dougloid:
...probably methylene blue.

That stuff is used as a heavy-duty anti-fungal/anti bacterial/anti-everything in fish, (I keep koi). I believe it works on the same principle as chemotherapy, in that it kills the disease more quickly than it kills the host.

Anyway, the point is that (ironically) it's carcinogenic through extended skin exposure. So if it is used now, expect to see a ban in the not-too-distant future.

What I was pointing to is a patented process for analyzing contamination in fuel. Nobodt's suggesting that anyone take a bath in the stuff.

And you overstate the toxicity of methylene blue, even if one were to accidentally ingest a large quantity of the stuff. It does have uses in biology and in health care.

http://ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/ME/methylene_blue.html

http://www.drugs.com/cons/methylene-blue.html

http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/m4381.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/methylene_blue-oral/article.htm

also this:

Cancer Information
IARC Carcinogens
U.S. NTP Carcinogens
California Prop 65 Known Carcinogens
U.S. EPA Carcinogens
TRI Carcinogen Not Listed
Not Listed
Not Listed
Not Listed
Not Listed


25 Pilotpip : Which is why a tank is supposed to sit for a while after being loaded so you can check the sumps.
26 Post contains images HAWK21M : Wouldn't that be obvious 1hr/1ft approx. regds MEL
27 Post contains images AirframeAS : Si! Si!
28 Twincommander : the stuff our line boys use to detect water is called biobore. its a clay that you press on to the end of the tank measuring stick, dip in, hit the bo
29 MD11Engineer : There are several chemicals which will react with a change of colour to water. Copper sulphate, which is normally a blue, cristalline substance, can b
30 HAWK21M : What is the chemical property. regds MEL
31 MD11Engineer : Cattle manure! Biobore is a chemical added to the fuel, which kills microbes, which normally grow in the interface area between water droplets in the
32 HAWK21M : Isn't Fuel sumping a 24hrs affair during longer halts & prior to refuelling of the 1st flight post halt.A few weeks duration would be streching it a
33 MD11Engineer : Most modern planes have very efficient scavenging systems. E.g. I have been sumping B757 freighters regularly for several years and have never found
34 HAWK21M : Eg the B732s dont have a Jet Sumping pump like the B752s.Hence 24hrs fuel sump draining needed. regds MEL
35 Dougloid : But you could engineer it pretty easily with a bridge circuit of some sort and an annunciator I've never used the stuff but you're right about where
36 Post contains links Mendaero : There are two ways water can present itself in Jet fuel. Free water and suspended water. Free water is easy to detect by sumping some fuel and see th
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