fuel system

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Related to fuel system: ignition system, aircraft fuel system

fuel system

[′fyül ‚sis·təm]
(mechanical engineering)
A system which stores fuel for present use and delivers it as needed.

Fuel system

The system that stores fuel for present use and delivers it as needed to an engine; includes the fuel tank, fuel lines, pump, filter, vapor return lines, carburetor or injection components, and all fuel system vents and evaporative emission control systems or devices that provide fuel supply and fuel metering functions. Some early vehicles and other engines had a gravity-feed fuel system, in which fuel flowed to the engine from a tank located above it. Automotive and most other engines have a pressurized fuel system with a pump that draws or pushes fuel from the tank to the engine. See Carburetor, Fuel injection, Fuel pump


The commonly used components for automobile and stationary gasoline engines are fuel tank, fuel gage, filter, electric or mechanical fuel pump, and carburetor or fuel-injection system. In the past, fuel metering on automotive engines was usually performed by a carburetor. However, this device has been largely replaced by fuel injection into the intake manifold or ports, which increases fuel economy and efficiency while lowering exhaust gas emissions. Various types of fuel management systems are used on automotive engines, including electronically controlled feedback carburetors, mechanical continuous fuel injection, and sequential electronic fuel injection. See Automobile


The presence of multiple engines and multiple tanks complicates the aircraft fuel system. Also, the reduction of pressure at altitude necessitates the regular use of boost pumps, submerged in the fuel tanks, which are usually of the centrifugal type and electrically driven. These supplement the engine-driven fuel supply pumps, which are usually of the gear or eccentric vane type. Components of a typical aircraft fuel system include one main and two auxiliary tanks with their gages; booster, transfer, and engine-driven pumps; various selector valves; and a fuel jettisoning or defuel valve and connection, which is typical also of what would be needed for either single-point ground or flight refueling (see illustration). The arrangement is usually such that all the fuel supply will pass to the engines by way of the main tank, which is refilled as necessary from the auxiliary tanks. In case of emergency, the system selector valve may connect the auxilary tanks to the engines directly. Tank vents, not shown, are arranged so that overflow will go safely overboard. See Aircraft engine

Diagram of a typical aircraft fuel systemenlarge picture
Diagram of a typical aircraft fuel system
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