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Old 18th Aug 2010, 23:22
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: FL 600. West of Mongolia
Posts: 462
I must admit, it seems excessive carrying 10,000kg in a trim tank, but this fuel system really was a study in elegance. Every single drop of fuel carried was usable by the engines, and the Mach Trimming was so good that you could fine-tune the process so as to achieve the minimum drag configuration for the aircraft of 1/2 degree down elevon in supersonic cruise. One rather amusing point about the fuel Mach trimming; the airworthiness authorities insisted that the aircraft also had a conventional Mach trimmer built into the electric pitch trim system. As the aircraft was mostly flown on autopliot, assuming the fuel trimming was being done correctly (it always was), the auto-trim would wind off this Mach trimming as it was applied, the net result of course being no change to the pitch demand. This really was a totally superfluous addition to the electric trim system. (If for any reason the aircraft HAD been hand flown during acceleration, the pilot would have to nudge the trim button nose down all the time as the A/C accelerated, in order to to oppose the nose up electric trim input).
The fuel, apart from 'lighting the fires' and trimming the aircraft was also used as a cooling medium for engine and IDG oil, as well as for the hydraulic system also. Where it was used to massive effect, was as a cooling medium for the air conditioning system. Here, at Mach 2 conditions, we needed air to exit the 'packs' (on Concorde these were called 'groups') at around -25 deg's C. By the time this air had travelled through the wing ducting it had risen to a sweltering 0 deg's C, at which temperature it entered the cabin. The astonishing thing is, that the air used for this, HP compressor delivery air, P3, was at around 550 deg's C as it left the engine. The ram air itself, used to cool the Primary and Secondary heat exchangers, had a total temperature anything up to 127 deg's C, and to complete this story, the fuel itself had an average temperature of around 60 deg's C. And surprisingly enough, it was a more or less conventional air conditioning system, using air/air intercoolers, an air cycle machine, with just the addition of the fuel exchanger (between the outlet of the secondary heat exchanger and the ACM turbine) to make it any different in concept to most other air cond' systems.
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