A320ajm
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Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:43 am

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.'
 
Mir
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:27 am

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
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A320ajm
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:34 am

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.'
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:10 am

Aquadisc power turns pink to red depending on the PPM of water present in the Fuel sample tested.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Dougloid
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:08 am

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.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
N231YE
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:59 am

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.
 
LMP737
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:47 am

In jets the easiest way to find water is to sump the tanks and see if there is any water. No dyes needed.
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tlfd29
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:15 am

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.
 
pilotpip
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:41 am

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
 
LMP737
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:52 am

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]
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:45 am

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
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:15 pm

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.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:01 pm

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

Anti Microbial corrosion & Anti Fuel Icing.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
jamesbuk
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:36 pm

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!!!
 
411A
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:07 pm

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.
 
tlfd29
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:45 pm

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.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:07 pm

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.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
jamesbuk
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:32 pm

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!!!
 
BAE146QT
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:14 am

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.
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GoingAround
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:19 am

It was dehydrated Copper sulphate crystals  Wink

Just did the same paper as you!

All the best, (physics tomorrow?)

Alex
 
jamesbuk
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:41 am

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!!!
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:09 am

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.
 
GoingAround
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:19 am

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
 
A320ajm
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:34 am

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.'
 
Dougloid
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:51 am

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
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
pilotpip
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:31 am

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.

Which is why a tank is supposed to sit for a while after being loaded so you can check the sumps.
DMI
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:03 pm

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 21):
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

Wouldn't that be obvious  Smile

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 25):
Which is why a tank is supposed to sit for a while after being loaded so you can check the sumps

1hr/1ft approx.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:05 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 26):
Wouldn't that be obvious

Si! Si!  wink 
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twincommander
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:12 am

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 bottom, and pull out. if it turns pink, you gots water.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:40 am

There are several chemicals which will react with a change of colour to water.
Copper sulphate, which is normally a blue, cristalline substance, can be heated and will then turn into a white powder (all the water imbedded in the cristalls has been driven out). Contact with minute quantities of water will turn it blue again.

The water detection tablets the fueling companies use contain some cobalt salts, which have similar properties. Pale pink when dry they will turn dark blue on contact with water.

Jan
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:42 pm

Quoting Twincommander (Reply 28):
the stuff our line boys use to detect water is called biobore

What is the chemical property.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:24 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 30):
Quoting Twincommander (Reply 28):
the stuff our line boys use to detect water is called biobore

What is the chemical property.
regds
MEL

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 tank and the fuel. They live in the water, but eat the fuel. Since they can cause corrosion and destroy the tank sealant, stuff like Biobore gets added to the fuel to kill them. Nasty stuff.
It is NOT a detectant.
AFAIK Biobore is a boron compound.
The best way though to get rid of them is an efficient water scavenging system and sumping the tanks every few weeks for residual water.

Jan
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:48 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 31):
The best way though to get rid of them is an efficient water scavenging system and sumping the tanks every few weeks for residual water

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 bit too long.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:11 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 32):
Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 31):
The best way though to get rid of them is an efficient water scavenging system and sumping the tanks every few weeks for residual water

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 bit too long.
regds
MEL

Most modern planes have very efficient scavenging systems. E.g. I have been sumping B757 freighters regularly for several years and have never found water in the tanks. It also depends on the airline and the respective CAA. With some airlines you'll sump every day (though it only makes sense if the fuel has been resting with pumps off for several hours to allow for the water to settle at the bottom of the tanks or if the fuel temperature is above freezing), at other airlines once a week or every 200 hrs.

Jan
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HAWK21M
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:25 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 33):
Most modern planes have very efficient scavenging systems

Eg the B732s dont have a Jet Sumping pump like the B752s.Hence 24hrs fuel sump draining needed.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Dougloid
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:31 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 26):
Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 21):
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

Wouldn't that be obvious

But you could engineer it pretty easily with a bridge circuit of some sort and an annunciator

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 31):
Biobore is a chemical added to the fuel, which kills microbes, which normally grow in the interface area between water droplets in the tank and the fuel. They live in the water, but eat the fuel. Since they can cause corrosion and destroy the tank sealant, stuff like Biobore gets added to the fuel to kill them. Nasty stuff.
It is NOT a detectant.

I've never used the stuff but you're right about where the bacteria grow. They live in the water and eat the fuel and can cause nasty corrosion, and I've seen two airplanes that had to be retired because of terminal wing corrosion due to fuel being contaminated with bacteria. They both belonged to the singer Kenny Rogers-a DH125 and a BAC111.

As an interesting sidenote I've found kerosene lanterns that have had bacteria living in the reservoirs, one of which was mine. We keep a few for occasions when the power goes out and they are quite common here in Iowa because most of the state was not electified until the late 1930s. I use charcoal lighter in them, which is just stoddard solvent-highly refined kerosene. One of them had a bloom in it and it smelled awful, just like dead gasoline that had been in a car for years. The fuel was badly discolored and there was a slug of poop down in the bottom that unfortunately could not eat glass.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
Mendaero
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RE: Fuel Contamination Detection

Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:02 pm

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.



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.

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 the water colect at the bottom of the sample. Suspended water however cannot be seen and must be found using a water detection paste.

Quoting Twincommander (Reply 28):
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 bottom, and pull out. if it turns pink, you gots water.

As someone else mentioned Biobor JF is used as a anti microbial (Biocide). As microbial contaminants can present themselves in jet fuel especially in tropical conditions.

http://www.silmid.com/biobor/biocide.htm

http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?...r/shellwaterdetector_10081033.html

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