ASTM D3241 Thermal Oxidation Stability of Aviation Turbine Fuels requires a strict conformance for the jet fuel industry for this critical test. The Falex F400 matches results due to the critical equipment specification that controls the heater test section and test conditions.
Designed for years of long operation, the reliable Falex F400 provides traceability, long maintenance intervals and results you can trust:
- Automatic aeration and fuel cleaning at the beginning of the test
- Priming is a snap with easy access and processor control
- Certified thermocouples guarantee accuracy without the need for calibration with lead.
Jet fuel thermal oxidation testing - the long road to equivalency
In 2006, the Falex Corporation and its distributor Compass Instruments were approached by the US Army with a view to manufacturing a thermal oxidation tester for use in mobile field laboratories. Currently over 150 are now in use. Falex has also decided to manufacture the consumable test pieces, known as 'heater tubes'.
In 2003, ASTM International, Sub-committee D02J0 on Aviation, produced a protocol to prove heater tube equivalency in Research Report number D02-1550, based on jet fuel break point. The break point of a jet fuel is determined by increasing the temperature of the test in 5° increments until the heater tube shows a deposit which fails the test.
The Falex heater tubes were run through this protocol in 2009 and 2010, and after numerous ballots at the sub-committee and D02 main committee, were finally approved for use by ASTM in June 2011, and have now been added to the specification D1655 for jet fuel.
In Europe, jet fuel specification comes under the custodianship of the Ministry of Defence under the title Defence Standard 91-91 (DefStan 91-91). Before a new heater tube can be approved for use, it has to be deemed equivalent by the Energy Institute (EI) sub-committee, EI SC-B-8, which is responsible for the test. It also needs further approval from the Executive Committee (EXCO) of the Aviation Fuels Committee. EXCO asked SC-B-8 for its decision and it was decided that a ballot of members would be required, as well as an additional ballot at the next level up, the Test Method Standardisation Committee. The ballots duly passed and the Falex heater tubes will be listed in DeStan 91-91 issue 7 under amendment 1, to be published in November 2011.
The equivalency process has taken five years to complete but demonstrates the thoroughness required to ensure aircraft and passenger safety.
The Falex mobile thermal oxidation tester has been developed into a commercial unit called the F400. This has undergone the same rigorous testing procedures as the heater tubes and has also been approved by ASTM and incorporated into the ASTM D3241 Test Method.
This article appeared in the October 2011 edition of Petroleum Review, published by the Energy Institute in London.