Aircraft fuel valves are an important tool to control the flow of fuel into the engine and provide the power behind flight. There are three common types of aircraft fuel valves in use in aircraft fuel systems: hand-operated fuel valves, motor-operated, ams solenoid-operated. This blog will explain each of them, their differences, and their functions.
Hand-operated fuel valves come in three subtypes. Cone valves, poppet valves, and gate valves. Cone valves, also known as plug valves, consist of machined housing into which a rotating brass or nylon cone is set. The cone rotates relative to an attached handle controlled by the pilot. Poppet valves, also called selector valves, are another hand-operated valve. In this design, as the handle rotates, a cam on the attached shaft lifts the poppet off the seat of the desired port being selected. The third type, the gate valve, is a manually-operated single selector valve. Fuel flow is controlled with a series of on/off or valves that are linked between system components.
Gate valves and other hand-operated valves are commonly used as fire control valves because they require no electrical power to shut off fuel flow during an emergency.
Motor-operated valves are common in large aircraft due to the distance between the cockpit and key fuel system components. The valves themselves are roughly the same, but electric motors are used to control and actuate the units. The motor is a geared, reversible electric motor to turn the actuating arm of the valve that moves the fuel gate into or out of the path of the fuel. Solenoid-operated valves operate through the use of electric solenoids. A poppet-type valve is opened via the magnetic pull developed when a solenoid is energized. A spring forces a locking stem into a notch in them stem of the valve to lock it in the open position, allowing fuel to flow. Another solenoid is energized to close the valve. A well-known characteristic of solenoid valves is that they open and close very quickly with great ease.
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