Why Are Firewalls Important For an Aircraft Engine?

Posted on June 22, 2022 Jerold Perkins Aviation

While some may think firewalls are limited to the automobile world, they are actually an integral part of aircraft as well, acting as barriers between an airplane’s engines and the rest of the airframe. Commonly known as bulkheads in the United Kingdom, firewalls are considered a fire-resistant barrier. To better understand their purpose and function, this blog will provide a brief overview of firewalls in aircraft.

In the electronics realm, firewalls serve as network security devices that monitor traffic to or from your network. Aircraft, on the other hand, use firewalls to separate the engines from the rest of the engine, protecting sensitive airframe components against fires. In fact, FAR 23.1191 requires that engines, auxiliary power units, and fuel-burning heaters be physically isolated from the rest of the airplane by firewalls or shrouds.
If an engine experiences some form of catastrophic failure, they can detonate. With the presence of a firewall, however, fires can be isolated so that they do not spread into the cabin or cockpit. Due to their function, according to FAR 23.1191, only a few materials may be utilized for firewalls without additional testing, including stainless steel sheets, mild steel sheets coated with aluminum or other corrosion resistant sealants, terne plates, monel metals, steel or copper base alloy firewall fittings, and titanium sheets.
How A Firewall Works
The firewall in aircraft is also responsible for preventing any hazardous quantity of liquid, gas, or flame from passing through the firewall to other parts of the airplane. It is important to note that the firewall must be protected from corrosion, and each opening in the firewall must be sealed with close fitting, fire-proof grommets, bushings, or other fittings.
Since many aircraft are powered by jet fuel, which is highly combustible, the risk of fire increases. When mixed with an ample amount of oxygen, jet fuel may burn at over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to burn airframes. Although firewalls do not prevent fires from happening, engines can still experience failure and ignite a fire. With this in mind, the FAA always inspects new airplanes for firewalls, and most aircraft are required to have a firewall around each engine. Without the necessary firewalls, aircraft will fail their inspection.
Moreover, regulations set forth by the FAA also require firewall materials and fittings to resist flame penetration for a minimum of 15 minutes. Due to their strength and location, firewalls are also perfect areas for battery boxes, voltage regulators, and other engine components to be mounted. That being said, it is clear that firewalls are incredibly versatile devices that protect a myriad of aircraft parts.
If you find yourself in need of aircraft firewall components, rely on Aerospace Exchange. Aerospace Exchange is a leading distributor of aircraft airframe components, all of which have been sourced from top global manufacturers like Airbus, Boeing, and Honeywell. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find options in our inventory, customers can easily fulfill their operational needs. Peruse our offerings at your leisure and request quick quotes on any desired items through our Instant RFQ service. We only ask that you include as many part requirements as possible, so that one of our team members can craft a sourcing solution that keeps your needs in mind. Get started today and rest assured that we prioritize our customers’ operational deadlines. For additional questions, call or email us at any time; we are available 24/7x365!

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