Engine Fuel System Components – Fuel Spray Nozzles and Fuel Manifolds (Part Two)

in Engine Fuel and Fuel Metering Systems

Simplex Fuel Nozzle

The simplex fuel nozzle was the first nozzle type used in turbine engines and was replaced in most installations with the duplex nozzle, which gave better atomization at starting and idling speeds. The simplex nozzle is still being used in several installations. [Figure 2-64] Each of the simplex nozzles consists of a nozzle tip, an insert, and a strainer made up of fine-mesh screen and a support.

Figure 2-64. Simplex airblast nozzle cutaway.

Figure 2-64. Simplex airblast nozzle cutaway.

Duplex Fuel Nozzle

The duplex fuel nozzle is widely used in present day gas turbine engines. As mentioned previously, its use requires a flow divider, but at the same time it offers a desirable spray pattern for combustion over a wide range of operating pressures. [Figure 2-65] A nozzle typical of this type is illustrated in Figure 2-66.

Figure 2-65. Duplex nozzle spray pattern.

Figure 2-65. Duplex nozzle spray pattern.

Airblast Nozzles

Airblast nozzles are used to provide improved mixing of the fuel and airflow to provide a optimum spray for combustion. As can be seen in Figure 2-64, squirrel vanes are used to mix the air and fuel at the nozzle opening. By using a proportion of the primary combustion airflow in the fuel spray, locally rich fuel concentrations can be reduced. This type of fuel nozzle can be either simplex or duplex, depending upon the engine. This nozzle type can operate at lower working pressures than other nozzles which allows for lighter pumps. This airblast nozzle also helps in reducing the tendency of the nozzle to carbon up which can disturb the flow pattern.

Figure 2-66. Duplex fuel nozzle.

Figure 2-66. Duplex fuel nozzle.

Flow Divider

A flow divider creates primary and secondary fuel supplies that are discharged through separate manifolds, providing two separate fuel flows. [Figure 2-67] Metered fuel from the fuel control enters the inlet of the flow divider and passes through an orifice and then on to the primary nozzles. A passage in the flow divider directs fuel flow from both sides of the orifice to a chamber. This chamber contains a differential pressure bellows, a viscosity compensated restrictor (VCR), and a surge dampener. During engine start, fuel pressure is applied to the inlet port and across the VCR, surge dampener, and on to the primary side of the nozzles. Fuel is also applied under pressure to the outside of the flow divider bellows and through the surge dampener to the inside of the flow divider bellows. This unequal pressure causes the flow divider valve to remain closed. When fuel flow increases, the differential pressure on the bellows also increases. At a predetermined pressure, the bellows compresses, allowing the flow divider valve to open. This action starts fuel flow to the secondary manifold, which increases the fuel flow to the engine. This fuel flows out of the secondary opening in the nozzles.

Figure 2-67. Flow divider.

Figure 2-67. Flow divider.

Fuel Pressurizing and Dump Valves

The fuel pressurizing valve is usually required on engines incorporating duplex fuel nozzles to divide the flow into primary and secondary manifolds. At the fuel flows required for starting and altitude idling, all the fuel passes through the primary line. As the fuel flow increases, the valve begins to open the main line until at maximum flow the secondary line is passing approximately 90 percent of the fuel.

Fuel pressurizing valves usually trap fuel forward of the manifold, giving a positive cutoff. This cutoff prevents fuel from dribbling into the manifold and through the fuel nozzles, limiting afterfires and carbonization of the fuel nozzles. Carbonization occurs because combustion chamber temperatures are lowered and the fuel is not completely burned.

A flow divider performs essentially the same function as a pressurizing valve. It is used, as the name implies, to divide flow to the duplex fuel nozzles. It is not unusual for units performing identical functions to have different nomenclature between engine manufacturers.

Combustion Drain Valves

The drain valves are units used for draining fuel from the various components of the engine where accumulated fuel is most likely to present operating problems. The possibility of combustion chamber accumulation with the resultant fire hazard is one problem. A residual problem is the deposit of lead and/or gum, after evaporation, in such places as fuel manifolds and fuel nozzles.

In some instances, the fuel manifolds are drained by an individual unit known as a drip or dump valve. This type of valve may operate by pressure differential, or it may be solenoid operated.

The combustion chamber drain valve drains fuel that accumulates in the combustion chamber after each shutdown and fuel that may have accumulated during a false start. If the combustion chambers are the can type, fuel drains by gravity down through the flame tubes or interconnecter tubes until it gathers in the lower chambers, which are fitted with drain lines to the drain valve. If the combustion chamber is of the basket or annular type, the fuel merely drains through the air holes in the liner and accumulates in a trap in the bottom of the chamber housing, which is connected to the drain line.

After the fuel accumulates in the bottom of the combustion chamber or drain lines, the drain valve allows the fuel to be drained whenever pressure within the manifold or the burner(s) has been reduced to near atmospheric pressure. A small spring holds the valve off its seat until pressure in the combustion chamber during operation overcomes the spring and closes the valve. The valve is closed during engine operation. It is imperative that this valve be in good working condition to drain accumulated fuel after each shutdown. Otherwise, a hot start during the next starting attempt or an afterfire after shutdown is likely to occur.