My PhD topic focuses on the theoretical modeling of the thermal stability of aviation fuel - this page offers a quick and basic introduction into the general problem of thermal stability and why it is umportant.
Aviation fuel in todays aircraft serves a multitude of purposes, on the one hand aviation fuel is used to power the engines, however it is less well known that aviation fuel is also used to cool aircraft systems, including the engines and further used in the hydraulics system. As a result, ensuring that aviation fuel retains its properties under heat loads experienced during operating conditions is important to ensure aircraft safety and reliability.
Given that more modern, efficient engines operate at increasing temperatures and electronic systems produce ever increasing heat lots, improving our understanding of the behaviour of aviation fuel under thermal stress is one of may important areas of aviation development. Given that thermal stressing of aviation fuel leads to the formation of particulate matter in fuel systems, which increases with increased temerature, this area of research is of important for the continued development of aircraft systems beyond aerodynamic optimisation and weight saving.
The aircraft as well as engines of tomorrow are dependent on developing an improved undestanding of the behaviour of fuel under stress - even more so if alternative fuels, such as synthetically produced fuels are to be used for their environmental benefits.