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What ground tests are carried out for testing and certifying wing fuel tanks for use in passenger aircraft? Is there any chamber to simulate flight conditions? If so, how is the chamber constructed?

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  • $\begingroup$ Fuel wing box, do you mean a fuel tank? $\endgroup$ – GdD Aug 1 '17 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. Fuel tank. $\endgroup$ – Kanaga Senthil Raja Aug 1 '17 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ By "ground test" do you mean tests that are conducted in the aircraft on the ground, or do you mean tests that can be conducted in the lab, etc. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jones Jr. Jan 15 '18 at 21:49
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The exact regulations governing an aircraft's fuel tanks depends on many factors such as type and number of engines, construction material, mounting method, number of passengers, aircraft gross weight, etc.

But a good overall set of requirements is given in 14 CFR 23.965 - Fuel tank tests. It includes such items as pressure testing, vibration, sloshing, inertia loads, venting, duration and number of cycles of each test, etc.

14 CFR 23.967 thru 23.101 - Fuel tank tests provides additional criteria but also includes requirements for components such as access panels, fuel sensors, filters and strainers, lines, pumps, drains, valves, jettisoning, etc.

Other than a visual inspection for leaks and corrosion, the primary field test for an installed tank is to plug all the orifices and pressurize the tank to 2-3lbs for about 10 minutes. Large rubber stoppers that look similar to corks (with a bolt running through them that expands the rubber) are often used to plug the larger opening such as fuel filler openings.

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As an example of what ground testing may be conducted, reference this Test Report from the FAA.

In this test, the fuel tanks were inerted with the On Board Inert Gas Generation System (OBIGGS). Various weather conditions and operating configurations were evaluated to determine Inerting times and effect on oxygen levels in the tank.

Tests that measure the actual fuel quantity of the system are also part of the ground test campaign.

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