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2012 Edition, December 1, 2012

Complete Document

Composite Fuel Tanks, Fuel System Design Considerations

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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2012 Edition, December 1, 2012
  • Published Date: December 2012
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: SAE International (SAE)
  • Page Count: 47
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:

This SAE Aerospace Information Report (AIR) is a compilation of engineering references and data useful to the technical community that can be used to ensure fuel system compatibility with composite structure. This AIR is not a complete detailed design guide and is not intended to satisfy all potential fuel system applications. Extensive research, design, and development are required for each individual application.


This document is intended to serve as guidance to airframe and equipment manufacturers for the design and installation of fuel systems into composite structure. This document is not intended to be a fully definitive specification, but concentrates on areas where it is felt guidance is needed.

The purpose of this AIR is to compile one definitive source of the references, rules, regulations, and preferred practices for the development of a fuel system in composite structure. This AIR sets forth some useful design considerations for work with composites as it relates to the fuel system.


The development and installation of a fuel system in composite structure introduces a variety of design situations which are different from aluminum. The differences are related to the properties of the composite material. As an example these may include low electrical and thermal conductivity, greater design sensitivity to penetrations, reduced shielding from electromagnetic radiation, reduced conductivity of lightning, and potential corrosion in graphite aluminum interfaces.

Field of Application

This AIR applies to the aerospace industry and specifically to aircraft that use common petroleum fuels.
AIA/NAS Aerospace Standards