What is the Aviation Engine Induction System?

For a number of reciprocating engine and piston engine aircraft to produce sufficient propulsion for flight, they require a mixture of air and fuel for optimal combustion. With the aircraft induction system, air is drawn from the surrounding atmosphere, mixed together with fuel, and then delivered to the cylinders for combustion by spark plugs. Depending on the type of aircraft and its needs, two primary types of induction systems are available, those being the carburetor and fuel injection system. While each type utilizes some different components and methods for induction, the end result of creating thrust remains the same.

With the carburetor type aircraft induction system, fuel is mixed together with air within the carburetor before being transferred to the intake manifold. With a simplistic design, carburetors are beneficial for an aviation system as they have little moving parts and are fairly cheap. Furthermore, many carburetor systems have large fuel lines that minimize the chance of clogging. For the carburetor induction system, either a float type or pressure type carburetor may be used, each providing their own unique benefits.

The float type carburetor serves as the most common for such induction systems, and its operation begins with atmospheric air being forced through an air filter at the aviation engine cowling. Once the air is filtered, it enters the carburetor through a venturi which causes a low-pressure area to generate. Due to this low pressure, fuel is forced through a main fuel jet and is then drawn through an intake manifold for combustion. Within the chamber that houses fuel, a float rests upon the fluids in order to act as a metering system and provides fluid measurement for the carburetor, hence the name of the system. As fuel causes the float to rise upwards, a needle valve closes the fuel opening in order to prevent any flow of fuel to the carburetor. With such systems, it is important to avoid sudden maneuvers, as such movements may cause the float to be disrupted for proper fuel flow.

With the pressure type carburetor, fuel is discharged into the airstream with a pressure that has been adjusted to values above atmospheric pressures. Due to this method of pressurization, more optimal vaporization is achieved, and fuel may enter the airstream from the aviation engine side. With a discharge nozze placed in such an area, vaporization occurs once the air has already passed the throttle valve, and thus engine heat offsets the resulting drop in temperature. As compared to the float type carburetor system, the pressure type does not face the possibility of vaporization icing. Without a float, such reciprocating engine aircraft can also conduct more abrupt maneuvers with ease.

With a fuel injection aircraft induction system, the fuel and air is mixed together right before it is supplied to the cylinders. To supply fuel, fuel lines transfer the mixture to the cylinders and inject it directly. The air intake of the fuel injection type is mostly similar to those seen on carburetor induction systems, though they may often use an alternate source that is placed within the engine cowling. With this redundant air source, air can still be provided to the induction system in the case of a blockage or obstruction. These backup systems are also automatic, allowing the pilot to continue operations with ease. With a fuel injection system, there is a low chance of evaporative icing, high amounts of fuel flow, precise mixture control, and other advantages that make them very beneficial for aircraft. Nevertheless, they do have various drawbacks such as low operation in hot conditions, sometimes leading to difficult starts and vapor locks during ground operations.

Regardless, each type of aircraft induction system proves highly useful for the operation of a piston engine or reciprocating engine. If you are in need of fuel injection parts, spark plugs, runners, balance tube components, and other aircraft hardware parts, look no further than Internet of Components. Internet of Components is a leading online distributor for the civil and defense aviation industries, providing customers rapid lead-times and competitive pricing on a multitude of highly sought after parts. Explore our robust part catalogues today and see how we can serve as your strategic sourcing partner.


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