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Revision A, January 2012

Complete Document

Jet Reference Fluid Study for Fuel Tank Sealants

Includes all amendments and changes through Stabilization Notice (No longer revised / updated) , January 2012

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Product Details:

  • Revision: Revision A, January 2012
  • Published Date: January 2012
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: SAE International (SAE)
  • Page Count: 98
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: Yes

Description / Abstract:


Standard reference fluids, or test fluids, have long been used to evaluate the effects of hydrocarbon fuels on various materials, such as integral fuel tank sealants. Standard fluids are required because hydrocarbon fuels, such as JP-4, vary widely in composition depending on crude source, refining techniques, and other factors. To ensure reliable and reproducible results when determining the fuel resistance of materials, reference fluids of known composition, using worst case fuel compositions, are used. The current Jet Reference Fluid (JRF) called out in military sealant specifications was developed in the mid-1950s specifically as a JP-4 type test fluid formulation to be used for the accelerated laboratory testing of integral fuel tank sealants.

In August 1978, chalking of the polysulfide sealant in integral fuel tanks of some new air craft at Edwards Air Force Base in California was discovered after only 1 year of service. Although chalking of poly sulfide sealants had been observed occasionally in the past, the rate of chalking was unprecedented. The results of an investigation showed that the rapid chalking of the poly sulfide sealant was caused by a chemical reaction involving metal ions (copper, cadmium, lead, and iron) and mercaptan sulfur in the fuel. It was also noted that qualification testing of the sealant used had not predicted the chalking that occurred in service. Further investigation disclosed that the sealant had passed the chalking test in the military specification because the JRF used in the specifications chalking test did not contain trace metal ions as did the fuel removed from the tanks of the affected air craft. The special Air Force investigating team included in its final report a recommendation that the JRF specification be reviewed and revised.
AIA/NAS Aerospace Standards