The need for safety is paramount in the aerospace industry, which includes aeronautical and aviation applications in the military, industrial, and commercial sectors. There is one element that literally helps ensure and maintain this safety… Nitrogen gas! Nitrogen is inert, which means that it doesn’t react to the presence of oxygen; this prevents the possibility of combustion and/or explosions in sensitive processes, especially those that are operating under high pressures and high temperatures – which is often the case in the aerospace field. An additional benefit is that nitrogen doesn’t leak through common materials that are used in this industry, including seals and rubber.
Nitrogen Gas in the Aerospace Industry
You may be wondering – what are some examples of specific aerospace applications that are powered by nitrogen gas and nitrogen generation? Let’s cover a few below:
Aircraft Tire Inflation. Like car tires being filled with nitrogen, so to can aircraft tires be filled with nitrogen! In fact, many aerospace regulatory agencies actually require tires to be filled with nitrogen gas, rather than oxygen, because it helps prevent oxidation of the tires, eliminates moisture within the tire itself, and also helps prevent any explosions/fires that might occur from brake heat transfer.
Aircraft Fuel Tank Blanketing. The last thing that you’d want to happen is to have a fire break out near a fuel tank, especially an aircraft jet fuel tank. Blanketing these tanks with nitrogen gas helps to decrease the chance of fire outbreaks and minimize the flammability of these locations. This also applies to aircraft pipeline blanketing/purging.
Autoclave Inerting. Autoclaves are essentially like pressure cookers – they apply heat and pressure to previously-crafted parts to ensure that the various components have been bonded together strongly.
Escape Slides Inflation. Similar to aircraft tire inflation, nitrogen gas (or a combination of nitrogen and carbon dioxide) is used to inflate aircraft slides and life rafts.
Oleo Strut Maintenance. Oleo struts are used as shock absorbers in an aircraft’s landing gear, and nitrogen is essential to ensuring that these operate appropriately. As you can imagine, a significant amount of heat is produced when an aircraft lands, so using nitrogen (rather than oxygen) decreases the chance of combustion, ensures that there is no moisture and therefore no corrosion, and no nitrogen leakage through the seals in the oleo struts.
Interested in seeing how on-site nitrogen generation can assist aerospace industry applications? Reach out to our experts at www.atlascopco.com/nitrogen-usa!