Effect of fuels, aromatics and preparation methods on seal swell

A. Anuar, V. K. Undavalli, B. Khandelwal*, S. Blakey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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New alternative jet fuels have provided many advantages in the aviation industry, especially in terms of economics and environment. However, fuel-seal compatibility is one of the major issues that restricts alternative fuel advancement into the market. Thus, to help understand and solve the problem, this study examines the swelling effect of prepared and non-prepared O-rings in different fuels and aromatic species. Stress relaxation experiments were carried out to evaluate seal compatibility under compression, which mimics engine operation conditions. Seals were compressed and immersed in a variety of fuels and their blends for about 90h while maintaining a constant temperature 30°C and constant compression force of 25% seal thickness. The two types of elastomers investigated were fluorosilicone and nitrile O-rings, which are predominantly used in the aviation industry. Meanwhile, three different fuels and aromatic species were utilised as the variables in the experiments. The fuels used were Jet-A1, SPK and SHJFCS, while the aromatic species added were propyl benzene, tetralin and p-xylene. The swelling effects were determined from the P/Po value. Results indicate that Jet-A1 has the highest swelling effect, followed by SHJFCS and SPK. It was observed that the higher the percentage of aromatics in fuel, the higher the rate of swelling. Furthermore, prepared seals had a lower swelling rate than did non-prepared seals. Meanwhile, the intensity of the swelling effect in the Jet-A1-SHJFCS blends was in the order of 60/40, 85/15 and 50/50 blend. The work done in this study will aid in the selection of suitable aromatic species in future fuels. The novelty of this research lies in the determination of the appropriate amount of aromatic content as well as the selection of type of aromatic and its mixture fuel. Moreover, the various proportions of fuel blends with aromatic are investigated. The primary aim of this study is to understand the behaviour of prepared and non-prepared seals, and their compatibility with alternative fuels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1542-1565
Number of pages24
JournalAeronautical Journal
Issue number1291
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Royal Aeronautical Society.


  • Alternative fuels
  • Aromatics
  • Seal compatibility
  • Stress relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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