Fuel serves as the single largest cost for a majority of aircraft operators. In fact, some experts estimate that every pound of an aircraft’s weight, including crew, passengers, baggage, and the aircraft itself, contribute to about $10,000 in annual fuel costs. To reduce aircraft weight and fuel usage, aerospace engineers, aircraft designers, and maintenance organizations are reevaluating 21st century airplanes. In this blog, we will outline four ways changes in aircraft design can help reduce fuel costs and consumption.
One of the main ways to reduce fuel consumption is by reducing the lift-to-drag ratio, making the aircraft more aerodynamically efficient. As such, engineers are devising innovative designs that help reduce drag. Some of these ideas include thicker fuselages to increase airflow and slimmer wings. Additionally, winglets are being installed to help minimize the quantity of air that flows around the wingtip. At NASA, a concept called “double bubble” is under development and is aimed at relocating aircraft engines to the top of the plane, toward the tail. This design can potentially decrease drag and increase fuel efficiency. Moreover, some engineers predict that carbon emission could be reduced by up to 66% in the next two decades with this configuration and result in 37% less fuel consumption.
Wires and cables can add more than 16,000 pounds to wide-body passenger jets; thus, aircraft engineers are looking to replace wiring in some non-avionic systems with small, lightweight wireless transceivers. The transceiver modules could be installed on components in aircraft using long-life batteries. These modules would gather and send information to router-like concentrators that are powered by the electrical system. Meanwhile, some researchers are considering “fly-by-wireless” systems to replace wired connections between safety-critical avionics systems.
New Components, Equipment Designs, and Materials
New manufacturing processes have made high-performance and lightweight carbon brakes with similar price points to steel brakes. That being said, engineers are still striving to develop lighter weight aircraft materials while keeping strength and safety in mind. For instance, manufacturers are planning to use carbon-fiber reinforced polymers more extensively as they are lighter than aluminum alloys. Using carbon-fiber composites instead of metal can cut fuel consumption by 5%.
Aviation researchers are focused on reducing fuel usage by developing hybrid-electric and lighter-weight engines. For example, Honeywell’s hybrid-electric turbogenerators run on partial electricity, meaning that less traditional fuel is utilized. More than that, one of Honeywell’s turbogenerators is capable of powering multiple electric motors situated anywhere on an aircraft.
As every ounce on an aircraft contributes to the total dollars spent on fuel, it is critical that manufacturers and engineers research new ways to reduce the overall weight of aircraft. The potential savings drive the need for weight reduction. Luckily for us, advanced technology is making it easier to achieve this. While saving on fuel is ideal, we can never compromise on quality. With this in mind, for top-quality aircraft products, rely on Hardware and Fasteners.
Hardware and Fasteners is a leading distributor of fuel consumption components and other standard aircraft parts, all of which have been sourced from top global manufacturers like Honeywell, Boeing, and various others. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find options, customers can easily fulfill rigid part requirements and meet strict budget parameters. Peruse our ever-expanding listings and submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form for any desired item(s). Get started today and see how Hardware and Fasteners can serve as your strategic sourcing partner. For additional questions about our other offered services, call or email us at any time; we are available around the clock!
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